Christians and their congregations worldwide are being opposed and persecuted in our day such as we haven’t seen since Rome martyred our fellow saints in the arenas for sport. We still have a ways to go before things get that bad for us, although we seem to be approaching it quickly. Some of the persecution has come because of our tolerance for false doctrine in the church. Much of it has come simply because Satan is using his human and demonic minions to churn up hatred for anything that looks godly since his time is short.
Because of challenges to the Christian faith, we may wonder, like ancient Judah did, if God has turned his back on us and forgotten us, especially when the most ridiculous actions of our enemies seem to prevail even if they are without philosophical or legal merit or justifiability. But what the Lord told the Old Testament saints of Zion can be applied to the New Testament saints of the heavenly Sion (Heb. 12:22). In Isaiah 49, we have the following words of encouragement from our Lord, though our trials may be disheartening:
13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
17 Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.
Jehovah points out to us that he is more faithful to us than a mother is to her own child that she is nursing. Though most mothers are compassionate toward their children, nowadays we often hear stories of neglectful mothers who don’t care about the well-being of their children even if those children are helpless babies. The Lord acknowledges moms can forget their kids, but we can rest assured he is not anywhere close to being a fallible, forgetful human mother.
We can be sure that even when afflictions come, he will ultimately comfort us and have mercy on us. The Lord is so committed to us that it’s like he has tattooed each one of our names on the palms of his hands. And when you think how all of heaven and earth cannot contain him (1 Kings 8:27), he must have some ginormous hands. Jehovah is so attentive to us that he pays close attention to our walls, which symbolizes how much protection he has allowed us to have and the spiritual boundaries of our spiritual accomplishments and rewards allotted to us in addition to the length of our lives on earth.
As is witnessed by the church’s growth in China and Iran, when persecutions against the Lord’s children are fierce, the children of Sion make haste to share the gospel to add to the kingdom’s numbers. Then the Lord eventually causes Sion’s destroyers to go forth, or be driven away, from us in some form or they may even get saved and go forth from our midst to spread the gospel themselves. However it ends for us, in the end we will realize the Lord has never forsaken and never forgotten those of us who belong to him.