I remember my first year of college longing to be included in one of the popular organizations on campus. Many in the group said that I was a “sure thing” to be selected and not to worry. However, much to my despair, when they voted for new members they did not choose me. I was devastated. I felt rejected, embarrassed, and humiliated. Everyone thought I would become a part of this group. How could I face people the next day? How could I continue my relationships with these girls who I thought were my friends? Interestingly, thirty-eight years later, I still feel a bit of a sting in my heart when I think about it. Perhaps you have experienced something like this. Why do these wounds go so deep? Why is it so important to belong to a certain group of people?
One of the strongest longings we have is to belong. God created us with this longing so that we would look to Him to meet this need. At times, He may choose to lead others to help fulfill our desires, but He wants to be the source of this provision. He does this for at least four reasons. First, He wants us to learn to trust Him with everything. Second, He knows what is best for us and will provide in a way that will result in a holy and abundant life. Third, He created us so that He could have intimate fellowship with us. And fourth, He will get the glory and not man or Satan.
The Lord addresses this longing in Isaiah 44:1-5 by assuring us that we are chosen and belong to God. Though this passage speaks to Jacob and Israel, the apostle Paul lets us know that because we belong to Christ, we are a part of “Abraham’s seed” and have become heirs of His promises (see Galatians 4:28-29). From the very beginning of our conception, we were personally connected with our mother in the womb. At birth, our greatest need was to belong and be cared for by our mother. Our care from the Lord goes back even further than this. In Isaiah 44:1-2 we see that God chose us, made us, formed us in the womb, and then will help us through life. His will is to be closely involved in our daily lives.
When we experience loss and tough times, our need to belong to a caring, strong, loving companion becomes even greater. The Lord is there for us. He pours water on our thirsty souls and sends streams to fill the empty, hollow cracks in our hearts (see Isaiah 44:3). Nothing breaks the bond between us. Just as a parent dotes on his child and then even more on his grandchildren, so the Lord rains down his caring and blessing even on our offspring (see 44:3). As we allow ourselves to surrender into the arms of the perfect lover of our souls, His abundant care will stir hope within us.
We will be moved to respond as Isaiah prophesied: “One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s’ and will take the name Israel” (44:5). I still remember the day after my husband proposed and gave me an engagement ring. I practically walked around all day with my left hand in the air inviting everyone to look at my ring. I was ecstatic to declare: “I am getting married! I belong to Todd, and he belongs to me!” The Lord wants us to know clearly that we belong to Him. No matter what happens, He is there for us. He has called you His bride (see Revelation 19:6-7).
Get a pen and write on your hand: “I belong to the Lord!”
Let it remind you throughout the day how important you are to Him. Though you may write on your hand a message of belonging to the One who loves you more than anyone else in the world, the Lord says He “engraves” you on the palms of His hands (see Isaiah 49:16). This is a permanent mark of ownership. We belong to the Lord! Nothing and no one can take this away from us. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5b). What better friend, companion, and lover can we have!
Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 44:1-5; Isaiah 49:16; Revelation 19:6-7
Excerpt from Mission Impossible by Sue Corl