God Will Never Forget You

A Devotional Study in Isaiah 49:15

Nursing baby in mother's arms

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Isaiah 49:15 illustrates the greatness of God’s love for us. While it’s extremely rare for a human mother to abandon her newborn baby, we know it’s possible because it happens. But, it is not possible for our Heavenly Father to forget or fail to fully love his children.

Isaiah 49:15

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you." (ESV)

God's Promise

Almost everyone experiences times in life when they feel utterly alone and abandoned. Through the prophet Isaiah, God makes a tremendously comforting promise. You may feel completely forgotten by every human being in your life, but God will not forget you: "Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close" (Psalm 27:10, NLT).

The Image of God

The Bible says humans were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27). Since God created us male and female, we know there are both masculine and feminine aspects to God’s character. In Isaiah 49:15, we see the heart of a mother in the expression of God’s nature.

A mother’s love is often considered the strongest and finest in existence. God’s love transcends even the best this world can offer. Isaiah portrays Israel as a nursing child in her mother’s arms—arms that represent God's embrace. The child is wholly dependent on his mother and trusts that he will never to be forsaken by her.

In the next verse, Isaiah 49:16, God says, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” The Old Testament high priest bore the names of the tribes of Israel on his shoulders and over his heart (Exodus 28:6–9). These names were engraved on jewels and attached to the priest’s clothing. But God has etched the names of his children on the palms of his hands. In the original language, the word engraved used here means “to cut into.” Our names are permanently cut into God’s own flesh. They are ever in front of his eyes. He can never forget his children.

God longs to be our main source of comfort in times of loneliness and loss. Isaiah 66:13 confirms that God loves us like a compassionate and comforting mother: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”

Psalm 103:13 restates that God loves us like a compassionate and comforting father: "The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him."

Over and over the Lord says, "I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget you." (Isaiah 44:21)

Nothing Can Separate Us

Maybe you've done something so terrible that you believe God cannot possibly love you. Think about the unfaithfulness of Israel. No matter how treacherous and disloyal she had been, God never forgot his covenant of love. When Israel repented and turned back to the Lord, he always forgave her and embraced her, like the father in the story of the prodigal son.

Read these words in Romans 8:35–39 slowly and carefully. Let the truth in them permeate your being:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? ... No, despite all these things ... I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Now here’s a thought-provoking question: is it possible that God allows us to experience times of bitter loneliness so that we discover his comfort, compassion, and faithful presence? Once we experience God in our loneliest place—the place where we feel most abandoned by humans—we begin to comprehend that he is always there. He has always been there. His love and comfort surround us no matter where we go.

Deep, soul-crushing loneliness is often the very experience that draws us back to God or closer to Him when we drift away. He is with us through the long dark night of the soul. "I will never forget you," he whispers to us. Let this truth uphold you. Let it sink in deep. God will never forget you.