Have you ever carried a prayer burden for so long that when you come up to God’s “prayer mic” you wonder, “Is this thing on?” Or have you found yourself in a trial that seems to just drag on with no end in sight? You come to God time and again with the same burden and the same request and it seems like there’s no movement? Maybe you haven’t said what Israel said, but you’ve come to the same conclusion:
“The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14).
Did you know that kind of assessment shocks God? To that kind of unbelief God says:
(15) Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
(16) Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
We are never far from God’s heart, but we can put distance between ourselves and God through willful disobedience, neglect or misinterpretation of our circumstances. Israel had been guilty of all three. She forsook God for idols. She neglected her worship of Him, and when the consequences of her actions led to her chastisement and captivity, she blamed God for her circumstances. That line of reasoning can only bring us to the ridiculous conclusion that God has forsaken us.
Most of the time when we believe God has forsaken us it’s because we have forgotten His promises and we interpret God through our circumstances rather than interpreting our circumstances through God. So, even though we may not put our unbelief in the same blunt words of Isaiah 49:14, we agree with it in our heart.
So, what do we do when we’ve been praying for the same loved one, or we’ve been struggling with the same difficulty for as long as we can remember and have seen no change? As glib as it may sound, we need to do what the old hymn says and count our blessings, name them one by one, and we need to remember God’s promises to never leave or forsake us.