Abandoned by God

But with great compassion he will gather us.

This reflection originally appeared in Daily Grace: The Mockingbird Devotional, Vol. 2:

For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing wrath for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Isa 54:7-8)

Many times in scripture, God tells us that he will never leave us or forsake us. And yet that is not the on-the-ground reality of the life of the Christian. In this passage in Isaiah, the Lord is honoring our perceptions. God does not abandon his people, but it certainly seems that way sometimes. And God, in his great mercy, does not say that we are crazy for feeling that way. In fact, he says that from our perspective, that is exactly what happens. We feel abandoned — it appears that the Lord is not on the throne, and that if he is, he is apathetic to me. That is not true, but it feels true. Our feelings may lie to us, but they’re still real.

Instead of God telling us that we are faithless and feckless and earthly-minded (true accusations if there could ever be any), he tells us that those feelings of abandonment are real. In our circumstances, we feel that we are often far from the Lord, that we are abandoned and that he is angry. We are not, and he is not, but for us, we are and he is. He does not call us to repent of our misleading feelings. No, he enters into them with us and reminds us of his truth.

With great compassion he will gather us. No matter our abandoned feelings, he is coming with everlasting love and with great compassion to snatch us back up. He is our Redeemer.

There is a distinct contrast in time here: Our afflictions are momentary, but his redemption is eternal. May we look up, away from despair and toward the One who saves. May we look up and know that despite our felt abandonment, he is coming, and his gathering will be everlasting.

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2 responses to “Abandoned by God”

  1. CJ says:

    This is so good

  2. Elizabeth Cosgriff says:

    Thank you for writing this.

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