Recently, some brothers and sisters who had not come to church in a long time came back to attend service. I was both surprised and glad to see them again. When I told other members that they had returned, they also reacted with surprise and joy. However, our reactions made me realize one thing – in a sense, we were surprised because we were not expecting them to come back. In a sense, though we must have prayed for these lost sheep at one point in time, we were surprised because for a long time, we may have forgotten about them.
It is a very human thing to forget, even our most beloved brothers and sisters, especially when there are so many other people and responsibilities needing our attention. But the miraculous thing is that even if we forget, God never forgets.
In Isaiah 49:14, Zion, the city of God says, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” During this time, the Israelites were in distress; their enemies had surrounded them, and it seemed like God had forgotten all about them. However, in verse 15, God immediately replied, “Can a woman forget her nursing child? And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”
God asks if it’s possible for a mother to forget her child. In most cases, that is impossible, but in rare instances, it is still possible for that to happen, such as if the mother is terribly sick or completely overwhelmed by work. However, even when our dearest friends or family forget about us, God promised that He will never forget about us.
The moment we are baptized and become children of God, we have entered into an everlasting covenant with Him, and our names are inscribed on the palms of His hands. God constantly thinks about us and His eyes are always watching us. No matter how many other people’s prayers He must attend to, He always has time to listen to what each one of us has to say. So when one of us strays far from the church, even when everyone else may have given up hope or forgotten about us, God never forgets, but He will continually seek us out and bring us back to Him. In this we see the steadfast mercy and faithfulness of our God.
In the end of Isaiah 49, God promised to bring back the captives of Zion. In the same way, no matter how far we wander from Him, God never forgets us and He will bring us back as long as we are willing to return. If we feel far from God, like a lost sheep, remember that God is still thinking about us; He has not forgotten and if we are willing, He is more than happy to bring us back home to Him. But if we are already at home with God but we know that our brother or sister is lost outside, let us pray to God to give us the same heart that He has – a heart of mercy, compassion, patience, and love – so that we can keep reaching out to those brothers and sisters and let them know that we, too, will not forget.