“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; your walls are ever before me.” — Isaiah 49:15–16
Though I can’t prove it, I’m convinced God prevents far more evil than He allows. When His people are discouraged, God says that He can no more forget us and fail to have compassion than a mother could fail her own child. In fact, though some mothers have failed their children, God will never fail us. “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” What a powerful statement—by His own doing, we are permanently fixed on the very hands of God! And knowing us and loving us as He does, He often intervenes in ways we don’t always recognize.
On January 15, 2009, what should have brought certain death to passengers aboard US Airways Flight 1549, and catastrophe to Manhattan, turned into what secular reporters labeled a “miracle.” The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, safely landed a crippled plane in New York’s Hudson River, with no serious injuries.
While chunks of ice and busy ferries filled most of the river, the place where the plane came down remained clear of both ice and boats. It landed without breaking apart. Ferryboat captains rescued all 155 people from the frigid river within minutes.
Though the miracle of Flight 1549 appears to be the exception, not the rule, isn’t it likely that a kind, all-powerful, and very compassionate God routinely prevents terrible tragedies in ways that we do not see and therefore do not credit as miracles? Perhaps one day we’ll hear those stories and marvel at how often God intervened when we imagined Him uninvolved in our world.
Focusing on God’s big miracles—like curing cancer and making brain tumors disappear—causes us to overlook His “small” daily miracles of providence in which He holds the universe together, provides us with air to breathe and lungs to breathe it, food to eat and stomachs to digest it. Our birthright does not include pain-free living. Only those who understand that this world languishes under the Curse will marvel at the beauties He provides us despite that Curse.
While the nature of faith is to trust God for what we do not see, we may base our trust in Him on many things we have seen—His Word, His creation, and how He has shown Himself in others, in our lives, and throughout history. We are called to trust God even when right now we can’t see His purposes. God is good even when we can’t see it.
God already has proven His eternal love for us in Christ Jesus. May He give us eyes to see how He demonstrates that love every day in hundreds of ways, most of which we take for granted. Faith means believing that God is good and that even if we can’t see it today, one day we will look back and see clearly His goodness and kindness.
Lord, there’s so much to be grateful for. Thanks for watching over us. We have no basis for believing that we as fallen creatures deserve a better world, and every basis to believe we deserve a worse one. Yet in your grace, you have guaranteed in Christ that we will live in such a world forever. Our thanks don’t seem adequate, but thank you nonetheless.
Excerpted from Randy’s book 90 Days of God’s Goodness.