“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16a
“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:7-12
The siblings challenged each other to plunge from the cliff into the winter water. Shouts and splashes turned to stun that the necklace had been torn off, the ashes of a son who did not survive, at the bottom, on a chain. Dive after dive in the frigid water, finally a sighting… and after nearly too many long shivering minutes, the brother emerged, treasure in hand. Tears, relief, joy at the retrieval of something so valuable almost lost. O, the depths to which a father and brother go for one so loved.
Our heavenly Father sees, and loves, the dead at the bottom. Jesus gave His life to pursue and redeem the helpless, the lifeless. He plunged the depths of the grave, our names engraved with the nails of Calvary on His hands. What wondrous, what boundless, love is this? (Romans 5:6-10; Ephesians 2:4-7)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?.. No… For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35,37-39
Rent with brokenness and imperfections, we may doubt His love. Surrounded with trouble, or saturated with emotional or physical pain, we may not feel the blessed balm. Knowing our own fickleness and weak will, we may question His fidelity. Yet His promise is true and steadfast: He will never forsake His own. (Deuteronomy 31:8; Psalm 94:14; 2 Corinthians 1:20; 4:7-9)
Held fast in the arms of Jesus and His salvific love, how do we love in return? How fully are we surrendered to this Lover of our souls? How willingly are we reaching out in selfless love to our fellow image-bearers? How intentionally, and clearly, and broadly, do we communicate Christ’s love that will not let go?
“Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.” ~Henry Van Dyke (1907)
Lord, let me never forget the depths to which You have gone for my sake, and that You will never forsake. May I love You and others so selflessly and well.