Wednesday, 4th Week of Lent
Let me give you a short background of the first reading – of Isaiah 49. Some 700 years before the birth of Jesus, God’s people, the Israelites, were being battered into submission by powerful enemies. Leading citizens were being exiled into foreign lands. There was every reason to despair. Isaiah, God’s spokesman, told them the stark, hard truth: they were suffering for their individual and national sins.
Then comes the mighty word of assurance from Isaiah: God has not forsaken you. God cannot forsake you. “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
What kind of trust do we put in God’s promises? Do we really believe and trust in God’s plan of salvation? That what he wants for us is not pain, suffering, or death but wellbeing and fullness of life?
God’s love, unlike that of humans, is never fickle. It is constant, unquenchable, and persistent. It is as though your name is tattooed on God’s very hands. Even though I disappoint and desert him, that tattoo on his hand is indelible. He will never fail me or forsake me.
Most of our relationships are performance-based. If we perform well, we are appreciated. If we fail, we are no longer acceptable. But Jesus Christ is the only friend we will ever have who can stand the full truth of what we are and will keep on loving us – in spite of!
An American Indian tribe has a legend about a father and son who long ago were traveling to a hunting territory far away. The journey was long and rough, fraught with dangers. Only the wisdom and experience of the father kept them from getting lost.
Along the way, the boy grew curious. He wanted to know what was on the other side of the forest, beyond that distant ridge. Could he run over and look? His father said yes. “But father,” he asked, “How will I know whether I have wandered too far from you? What will keep me from getting lost?” The father replied, “Every few minutes I will call your name and wait for you to answer.” “Listen for my voice, my son. When you can no longer hear me, you will know that you have gone too far.”
May our Lenten journey lead us back to hear God’s voice more clearly.