I recently received a call from the leader of another Mission. He was enduring a difficult time in leadership much like one I experienced not too long ago. It has really shaken him up, and I understand his pain. Not long after that call I received another call from a loved one who just didn’t know how he could carry on in this life. He’d attempted suicide twice in the last few weeks and was focused on ending his life.
It is difficult to know just what to say to someone who is so discouraged, especially when you are facing lots of challenges yourself. However, I was really helped by the daily devotional that I send out to my team every day. It is called Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, and some times it hits me right between the eyes! The scripture and lesson that helped me know what to say to these two gentlemen, and to myself, came from Isaiah 49:16. I shared it with both of these men and I also shared it with about 300 people experiencing homelessness when I preached in Union Rescue Mission’s back parking lot last Sunday for the Love LA Service.
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”
“I have graven thee.”It does not say, “Thy name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when He has graven thee upon His own palms?“
-Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening.
If you believe God has forsaken or abandoned you, don’t be mistaken. Not only has he not forsaken or forgotten you, but he has written you on the palm of His hands! Wow, how encouraging is that? What a picture that is of Jesus Christ, even from the Old Testament, in that when He took those nails into his hands on the Cross, He wrote us into his hands, all our pains, all of our sins, and all that we are, into His hands. I hope this will encourage you as much as it has me.
Rev. Andy Bales, CEO