(Note the differing inflections in the title)
I just played a session of "spit out the number 2" with Levi. Maybe you had to be there? No, actually it's quite simple. He would "feed" me the number 2 from his foam numbers puzzle and I would shoot it out of my mouth, at him, sending him into a chorus of giggles. Over and over and over! And then we played yoga mat burritos. I DO NOT want to say goodbye to my dear nephew... but the truth is: they're moving in just a month. A month!
And, read on. This has been on my mind:
On Sunday, we heard a sermon on Isaiah 49. Get THIS. Israel has been on quite a journey and God is in the middle of telling them how extra set apart they are. He reminds them of how he gives times of favor (v. 8), gives them guidance out of discipline (in contrast with how a normal prisoner just gets dumped on the street-v. 9), and speaks a beautiful prophecy about his ability to move his own mountains for THEIR sake (v. 10).
The response to all this information is, fittingly, a sort of worship service. People are singing, exulting, breaking forth, the works (v. 13). And then (this is the "get THIS" verse)
"But Zion said, 'The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.'" (v. 14).
Woah, woah, woah... we don't speak to God that way. That was my first reaction. But read on, feeble and impulsive Christine. God has ALLOWED the interruption, the doubt, and sadness in the midst of joy. Even more, he changes his tone in the following verses, coming down to Israel's level, whispering comfort to them. He asks the crying nation, "Hey, can a nursing mother forget the child at her chest? The right answer is no, but even so some of them will... but I will never forget you!" (v. 15, paraphrase).
"Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me." (v. 16)
I'm sorry to not use very many of my own words here, but what's in THE Word is just so much more powerful. As it should be. If you didn't already know, Israel (this is at least what I strongly believe) is a grand representation of all humanity. We go through these really sad and joyful ups and downs of obedience and disobedience, just as Israel has. So... us? Me? The Lord has engraved ME on the palms of his hands; my walls are continually before me...my undone walls, because no, they're not up yet. I'm a building in process, but God is looking at my walls as if I'm already up. Already sanctified, already "done", already standing before him in beauty.
[By the way, I didn't necessarily come up with all these ideas. I was just paying attention at church; a feat.]
How many times have I "interrupted" the worship service? Most of the time, I feel incredibly guilty for doubting and bringing a desperately bad mood to a joyful worship service. But this passage from Isaiah shows me there's grace in that interruption.
So may this serve as an update from that very honest post a couple weeks ago. I'm learning spiritual stuff daily, feeling really relieved at what I learned from Isaiah 49 this Sunday, being an artist and finding confidence in that, getting ready to say goodbye to my brother's family, and I moved into an apartment! More on that next time.