“For your Creator will be your husband; The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.
Have you ever felt abandoned by God and wondered why? Have you ever felt like he had turned his back on you? You are not alone in this. Sometimes it is a consequence of our own unfaithfulness. But other times we might experience it in times of great commitment to God. Jesus experienced this. On the cross, at the moment of his deepest obedience to God’s will, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46) Jesus knows what it feels like to wonder where God is.
In Isaiah, God responds to these questions, not with answers, but with assurances. He assures us that his love will overshadow any abandonment we might experience. Our abandonment might last “for a brief moment” but God will replace it with his “everlasting love.”
If you have felt abandoned by God for a long time, imagine how much greater God’s “everlasting love” will be by comparison. God’s assurance is a reason for great hope, and that calls us to trust him completely. Jesus reminds us that God gave up everything to be with us: He was Immanuel (Matthew 1:23; Philippians 2:6-8). “How good it is to be near God!” (Psalm 73:28).