“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted. But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her sucking 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 graven you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Your builders outstrip your destroyers, and those who laid you waste go forth from you. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather, they come to you.” (Is 49: 13-18)
This week we will remember the tears and grief of the sisters of Lazarus, not unlike what Zion says here, “The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me”; and not entirely unlike what I have felt at times, during these final days of Lent. Meanwhile God’s loving voice is practically bursting from these verses of His prophet Isaiah, saying to all of us, “Lift up your eyes round about and see”; Take a look, and see the abundance of My mercies, My help, My “builders,” who “outstrip your destroyers.” God has been “building” us all the time, even when we’ve felt weakened or destroyed by despondency, sloth, or simply distractions. Because God does not “forget” to do His work, even when we do.
Today I open up, once again, to God’s consistent promise: He “will have compassion on His afflicted.” And I thank Him this week, as we prepare to accompany His Son to Bethany, to raise us from a seemingly-hopeless death. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget,” the Lord says to us today, “yet I will not forget you.”