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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Not Forgotten, Not Abandoned

"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!” (Isaiah 49:15).

The New Testament city of Ephesus was immersed in the Greco-Roman tradition of the pursuit of beauty and perfection in every sense: art, architecture, music, and even regarding the human race.

In fact, Greeks and Romans regularly abandoned their unwanted (less than physically perfect, or often, female) infants to the elements as a means of divesting themselves of the responsibility and stigma of such a child. This practice was termed “exposing” the child. Some of those rejected children, if physically able, were "adopted" by Ephesian citizens only to serve as slaves.

Testifying to the common act of abandoning children is the following letter written June 17, 1 B.C., by a man named Hilarion to his pregnant wife, Alis:

“Know that I am still in Alexandria. And do not worry if they all come back and I remain in Alexandria. I ask and beg you to take good care of our baby son, and as soon as I receive payment I will send it up to you. If you are delivered of child [before I get home], if it is a boy keep it, if a girl discard it. You have sent me word, ‘Don’t forget me.’ How can I forget you. I beg you not to worry.”

How could such a warm missive contain such a cold directive to simply discard a baby!

As customary as this cold-heartedness was, there were some, mainly Jews and later Christians, who would make a long hike to the outskirts and dunghills to rescue these forgotten children in spite of the great sacrifices they would make to care for them.

Imagine, then, the joy of one of those rescued Ephesian children, slave or free, upon hearing Paul's letter: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Blameless. Loved. Pleasing Him.

You and I also live in a culture which seeks perfection by almost any standard other than the one of a holy God. We want beautiful faces and bodies, state of the art technology, instant and vast knowledge, perfect careers, homes and children. We live in a “throw-away” society that has little use for items, or people, who cannot contribute in ways we find most valuable. The aged, the unborn, and the voiceless are often discarded or put out of view.

And you and I—we definitely fall short by our fellow man’s standards. Even if we became one of the "beautiful people" who graced the covers of magazines and made millions simply by repeating memorized lines, soon the world would tire of seeing us at the top and begin to knock us down the ladder rung by rung until we became yesterday's news, forgotten, mocked, or scorned.

And incredibly, some of us have literally been unprotected or discarded by our very own mothers and fathers.

In other words, we live in a world of hurt.

But we are not abandoned.

Jesus, you could say, like those compassionate Jews and Christians who rescued the abandoned, strapped on his hiking boots and walked a long, steep hill, Golgotha, to rescue us. We belong to him. We belong. He chose us. We are accepted. We are loved.

Can you see Jesus’ determination to rescue us? “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Though it cost him so much, he sacrificed more than we can comprehend to bring us into his family, and no one can ever change our status!

So you may have been literally abandoned at birth, or emotionally abandoned, or abandoned by a spouse or feel like an outsider wherever you are, but the truth is, you are not abandoned. You are deeply wanted.

Jesus, the expression of God’s great love, reached out his mighty hand to scoop you up, redeem you and call you by name—you are His! (Isaiah 43:1).

Please visit Linda Crow at her personal blog:

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Blogger Denise said...

Amen, amen.

June 13, 2009 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Absolutely beautifully written. Not just words, but a salve to hurting hearts. How amazing when God speaks!

You are so right about how the perfection we strive for is something that will be meaningless - even in this world.

But to belong and to be loved? WOW

Thank you for thse words today... such a gift!

June 13, 2009 at 12:12 AM  
Anonymous HisFireFly said...

These words are a blessing! I can feel afresh the total and enveloping love of our amazing God! He has not, will not and cannot forget or discard us, for His nature is true love!
Thanks for the reminder.

June 13, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm posting as anonymous, though I have posted here with my real blogger identity. But for today, I"m anonymous.

"And incredibly, some of us have literally been unprotected or discarded by our very own mothers...emotionally abandoned, or abandoned by a spouse or feel like an outsider wherever you are, "

That's me. The above sentences are/have been my life.

Thanks so much for posting this. I needed to be affirmed once again that God still loves me, though the abandoment from my mother continues, and other people too.

Thanks for giving me hope. Pray for me.

June 13, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...


June 13, 2009 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

One of your best posts. Awesome writing.

I am so thankful He wants me and saved me!!

June 13, 2009 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

Such a great comfort to be reminded of this. I never before thought of it in the way that Jesus was "determined to rescue us". Beautifully written, Linda!

June 13, 2009 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Wow, Linda...

I just am astounded... Thank you for this powerful post.. You always... always inspire me girl.

Love you tons and I will not forget these words. Hugs.

June 14, 2009 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

I finished reading this post and couldn't stop wondering how many "abandoned" souls don't feel abandoned anymore. That's the Good News, Sister! Thanks for passing it on today.

June 14, 2009 at 6:43 PM  

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