4/6/2016 0 Comments
Random fact: I LOVE the book of Isaiah. To me, it’s a book that reminds you who God is, and that since nothing can take Him down, nothing can keep you down. Every time that I go through it, I find something new, and flat out amazing. What’d I find this time? Glad you asked! Let’s talk about…memories….and hands. Ready? So am I….
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had moments where somebody somewhere has forgotten about us. They forgot to call/text/email you back. They forgot your birthday. They forgot to give you something. People forget things all the time. If somebody made a promise (my all-time favorite: ‘we should meet up/go to lunch’), and we didn’t hear them talk about that promise for weeks, or months, or years, we’d assume that this proposed lunch isn’t happening & that they’ve forgotten about it. Many times, we apply that same concept to God. He’ll tell us something, we’ll shout (essentially the equivalent of the good ‘ol ‘yes! let’s do that’), and then…..something…bad..happens. We go from dancing on Sunday morning to fighting depression on Thursday, and we don’t quite understand how on Earth we got into such a dark and forsaken place in our lives. 'I was happy last week, right? So how did I go from being happy to….this?' Life has a way of turning faster than we can comprehend, and those turns often make us feel like God has forgotten about us. ‘God has obviously forgotten what He told me last Tuesday, because I’m clearly buried by the chaos that has invaded my life. He just can’t see me. Out of sight, out of mind.’ So often, we apply human habits to an immortal God. We apply our temporary ways to His eternal glory, and get mad (I mean, real mad) because we’ve deduced Him to our level. 'HOW DARE YOU FORGET ABOUT ME?! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE!! You’re supposed to heal, and deliver, and set free, and…stuff. God….if You’re so good, why is my life so bad?'
It is in these moments of our lives that we sound a lot like Zion in Isaiah 49:14. They literally believed that God had forgotten about them and forsaken them. God responds, and essentially says “No, I haven’t…I’ve got you right here. You’re inscribed in my hand.” That….got….me! It seems simple, but to me, it’s soooooo heavy. We often say that God holds us in His hands, and that’s cool, but there’s a difference to me in simply being in somebody’s hand, and being inscribed into somebody’s hand. See, if I’m holding something in my hand, I can drop it. I can get distracted & let some of it slip. There are soooooo many things that can happen that’ll cause whatever’s in my hand to get damaged, broken, or completely destroyed. However, if something’s inscribed in…anything, it’s carved into it. It’s apart of it; a permanent record intended to last throughout eternity. We inscribe words on objects so that they become a constant reminder of special people, events, etc. in our lives. Inscriptions are used for things that hold special meaning to us. Well, I’m here to simply tell you that you’re not just in God’s hand; you’re inscribed in His hand. He hasn’t dropped you. He hasn’t forgotten about you. He hasn’t forgotten what He said. He hasn’t lost any power. He’s in you, and you’re in Him. Nothing about your situation has slipped out the endless bounds of His power. You have always been, and will always be special to Him. You’re so special that He was willing to pay the cost of that inscription: the death, burial, & resurrection of His only Son. He’s carved your name into His very being. Don’t mistake the presence of a storm (or even a few drops of water...or what feels like a tsunami) for the absence of God. He’s done quite a bit over the past 2000+ years, but forgetting you has yet to make it to that list.
We wonder how God can be so good, and our lives can be so hard…as if we’ve never been to school. I’ve been in school for just about all of my life (18 years in the game..and counting). You know what I’ve taken a lot of? TESTS. The higher up I’ve gone, the harder they’ve gotten, and the more they’ve mattered. In high school, we had a test every six weeks; average the grades from the 3 (6 wks) exams and the final, and you had your grade (or something close to it if you did all the homework well). UT? I’d estimate 2-4 tests per class every semester. Same process: average the test grade(s), toss some participation/attendance in, and you had your grade. Plot twist on this level though: some assignments/tests were worth more than others (I'll let you ponder on that alone lol). Law school?! YOU WANNA KNOW ABOUT LAW SCHOOL?! Once. I get…one test…per class....at the end of every semester. That test is what determines my grade for the semester. Why is any of this relevant? Because every test I took was used to show my instructor how much I’d learned. Sometimes, those test grades were even used to show somebody above me (admissions, etc) that I could handle the upgrade. That’s essentially how I got into UT, and eventually into law school: my test performance, which to me was nothing but God’s grace and favor put on paper (because sweet baby Jesus KNOWS I didn’t get those grades by myself lol). Want me to break it down a little bit more? I can do that, then I’ll go back to my business.
Here’s what I’m saying: the storms, the chaos, the trials that we experience in life are simply tests that God uses to show others that we’re being upgraded. Don’t believe me? Check Isaiah 49: 26, “All flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, and your Redeemer…” I believe He’s basically saying that those around you will know that He’s the Savior…because of your survival, and you can’t survive a storm that never comes. So while I know that it hurts, and I know that you feel like you aren’t prepared for this exact exam, I’m still saying that you should just…..be still. Be still and know that He, and He alone, is God.
As long as He’s God, you’re inscribed on the hand that created the stars. As long as He’s God, your name is on the hand that created you, and the hand that has brought you out countless times. As long as He’s God, you’re inscribed on the very hands of love, grace, peace, and joy. Since you’re on that hand, you take in all that His hand holds and contains. So take in that joy. Take in that peace. Take in that grace, and take a looooot of that love. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t left or abandoned you. He could never do that….you’re apart of Him, and He’s apart of you. It’s one test. I’ve been taking tests for a mighty long time. Different subjects. Different atmospheres. Different cities. Different writers. Different preparation strategies. But you know what? They all have one thing in common: they all passed....and yours will too.
Background Music: He Has His Hands on You - Marvin Sapp & Not Forgotten - Israel & New Breed
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