“Shout for joy, O heavens; Rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:13-16
There is a fierce need in me to remember Becky and to see to it that she is remembered. In this season since Becky’s death I’ve read a lot of books on grief. One common theme in these books is the need to remember and to know that others remember the one who died. There is longing to hear Becky’s name out loud – to remember her in spoken words.
I wonder why this need? Maybe it is the drive to affirm that Becky existed and that her life, however brief, had immense value. Maybe it is a holding on to Becky – a clinging to what is left of her in me and mine today. Maybe it is a silent acknowledgement that this relationship is intact and I hold onto it until the day we can be face-to-face again.
Whatever drives me it gives me fathomless comfort to know that God will not forget Becky. Nor will He forget me. The physicality of the promise of God about how He remembers speaks to me. He engraves us on His hand – a painful process that results in a permanent reminder – a tattoo of me in His palm! I remember the physicality of nursing my children. During those nursing years whenever I was away from my child for even a relatively short time I was both emotionally drawn back to and physically reminded of this baby I had left behind. The milk meant for my baby built up and caused a physical ache that matched the emotional ache to be reunited. I could not forget my baby. That physical ache compelled me to remember and drove me to the joy of reunion with the child that I so dearly loved.
The Lord is emphatic that even if a nursing mom could forget He will not forget us! Becky’s name and my name and the names of all I love and every name that has been given are engraved upon His hand. I see the cross as the tool of engraving – that physical pain coupled with the compelling love of Christ that has left a mark for eternity in the body of Christ and engraved my name on the Lord’s hand. The cross affirms the Lord’s strong words “I will not forget you!”
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19