or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
A recurring religious question is that of God's disposition toward humankind and the world. And at those moments when things seem to be unraveling, when all evidence points to a life or a world hurtling out of control toward destruction, it is easy to wonder how long God will tolerate such things. Surely someday, God will have had enough.
Such a question is on Israel's mind as the prophet speaks. Their experiences suggest that God has abandoned them. Perhaps it is all their fault. They abandoned God and so are only getting what they deserve. But still this is a terrible realization, and so Israel says, “The LORD has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.” So it seems.
But through the prophet, God responds. "Can a mother forget her young child?" We would certainly hope not, and any who did would be considered a disgrace to mothering. But God insists that the divine loyalty toward Israel - and through them "all the families of the earth" - surpasses that of a mother toward her child.
Sometimes, amidst our trying to figure out all the particulars of the faith, or all the machinations of the church, we need to pause and remember this. "I will not forget you," says our God. "The most effusive love of the most caring mother pales by comparison to my love for you."
That is a promise worth remembering and revisiting on a regular basis.
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