The soul that on Jesus relies, He’ll never, no never deceive; He freely and faithfully gives more blessings than we can conceive; Yea, down to old age He will keep, nor will He forsake us at last; He knows and is known by His sheep; They’re His, and He will hold them fast.William Gadsby, “Poor Sinner Dejected with Fear”
Do you have a favorite hymn? One of my favorites, “How Firm a Foundation,” has become even more meaningful to me through the last year. I can hardly sing it without getting choked up. The last two verses in particular make me think of my mom:
E’en down to old age all my people shall prove my sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love; and when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn, like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
I learned to read music and sing alto by singing next to my mom in church. Something we’ve always shared is a love for music. Recently, while sitting with my mom, I started humming a hymn tune. Without missing a beat, she joined right in. Music, hymns, and Scriptures are things that stick with us.
You see, my mom has Alzheimer’s, and she has good days and not-so-good days. I treasure the time I have with her. I’m extremely thankful that she still knows us, although I know that may not always be the case. It’s painful to watch someone you love fade away.
Those verses from “How Firm a Foundation” reflect the hope and security we have in Christ. These sweet promises come from the Scriptures: Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you.” And Hebrews 13:5: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
What a wonderful promise! Whatever trials we face in our lives, God will always be with us. No matter what the future holds, He is not going to abandon us. His love for us is eternal and unchangeable. We see that love demonstrated in the description of God carrying us like lambs.
Jesus the Good Shepherd
Jesus is the Good Shepherd promised in the Old Testament. God condemns Israel’s wicked leaders in Ezekiel 34, describing them as shepherds who scatter and plunder their flock. In contrast, God promises to come and care for His people as a good shepherd should: “I Myself will feed My flock and I Myself will lead them to rest” (Ezek. 34:15). We see the same picture in Isaiah 40:11: “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”
These promises are fulfilled through Jesus, who says of Himself, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He also says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me,” (John 10:14). Jesus knows His sheep. He carries us in His arms and tends to our needs gently and compassionately. He is tender and loving. Through His life, death, and resurrection, He has saved us, and He has prepared a place for us with Him in glory.
Our lives and our future are secure in Him. As Jesus promised, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day,” (John 6:39). We are His sheep, and nothing can separate us from Him (Rom. 8:38-39). He will never lose a single one of us.
God Will Never Forget
Last Sunday, I looked down the row and saw my parents sitting side by side holding hands during the service. It made me smile and brought a tear to my eye. Because my dad was a pastor and my mom played piano, my parents rarely had the opportunity to sit together in church. Now that they’re both retired, we all get to sit together, and it’s a great blessing, especially with my mom’s declining health.
My parents love each other, and I love them both. But as much as we love each other, God loves us even more. Our faith, our salvation, and our perseverance all depend on Him, and He will never fail us.
I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how much time I have left with my mom or how long she’ll continue to know who I am. But even if she forgets absolutely everything, God will never forget her. He will hold her in His arms as His dearly loved child. And He will do the same for you and me. As He promised His people before they entered the promised land, “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deut. 31:8).