Copyright © Tickhill Methodist Church.
Rev. Dr. Frank Okai-Sam
A message from our minister
Everybody goes through difficult times in one’s lifetime. For some, it can be loss of a loved one, a job or a relationship. For others, it can be an event that has broken them over the years and hence, make not to move on.
Talking of events that can break people, I am reminded of the Old Testament stories of the Israelites in exile. God had promised to be with them in a covenant relationship by loving, blessing and protecting them. As part of that relationship, the Israelites promised to love God by obeying his laws and being good to each other and their neighbours. However, the Israelites broke their promises many times, generation after generation. God was very patient with them and warned them through his prophets that if they carried on with their disobedience, a day of reckoning would come when they would have to bear the consequences of their actions. It happened that God allowed them to be overran by the Babylonians and they were shipped into exile in Babylon.
In exile, the Israelites were disappointed because they could not relate with God as before. Although God was still present in their lives and even went on to encourage them to live their lives in the normal situation, their disappointments overshadowed their faith in God. They even went further to accused God of not loving them. Isaiah 49: 14 states, ‘But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”
There are times in our life situations that we feel like being forsaken. As a Minister, I have heard it many times when people ask the question, “where was God when …” It is okay to feel forsaken especially when you feel or think that the situation in which you find yourself is not your fault. However, I wonder if in your accusations or complaints, you have given God a chance to respond.
The following was God’s response to the Israelites (Isaiah 49 15 – 16):
“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.
Like Christmas and Valentine, Mothering Sunday has become a commercial issue in the western world. I am not saying that we should not be grateful to our mothers, godmothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and so on. They are very important part of our family lives. However, for some people, Mothering Sunday is a difficult time in their lives especially when they have been through rough times by not having a mother figure in their lives.
Sometimes, going through life situations can be like not having a mother figure in your life – forgotten, lonely, unloved, rejected, unprotected, forsaken, frustrated, and so on. But God has an answer for you in your questions – your mother may have forgotten about you, but I will not think of forgetting you. His reason is that he has tattooed you on his palms.
In the Old Testament days, a tattoo was a permanent mark and would never disappear. In other words, God is saying to you that you may feel insignificant, unloved, lonely, etc. but in God’s eyes, you are important, very important. He sees you every day and thinks about you every day of your life. He remembers you every day and wants to be part of your life. I wonder if you can take the trouble to trust him and tell him of what you think of the situation in which you are in now. That is also called prayer.
You know what, God heard the cries of the Israelites, but it took about seventy years for God to lead the Israelites back from exile into Jerusalem. In your prayers, the answer may not be instant, but he is with you and he will carry through your situation. It may feel like seventy years, but remember, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Stay positive in your struggles and continue to trust the God who will never forget you.
Rev Dr. Frank Okai-Sam
(Methodist Minister - Adwick, Bawtry, Harworth, Sprotbrough & Tickhill)
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