After a long day of writing, Jo and I jumped into our rental car and took a short drive. Destination: The Lost Forty. I hadn’t been there for twenty years, but I remembered a trail a few miles from the cabin that I wanted to rediscover. I missed a turn or two, but we soon found our way to the untouched forest. It was as beautiful as I remembered.
What I didn’t remember was the story behind the forest’s name. “The Lost Forty” is a forty acre piece of land that was never surveyed when the government was mapping out this region. Here’s the short story: In the 1880’s, Josiah A. King and his three person crew were living off of a dwindling food supply as they surveyed the region around Grand Rapids, MN. They weren’t quite done with their job, but winter was setting in. In his haste, Josiah marked a section of his map as a lake. In actuality it was a virgin forest. Lumber barons of the time were cutting down massive swaths of such forests. In fact today, only 2 percent of the old growth forests are left in MN. Since the “lost forty” land was marked as a lake, the saws of the barons were never sent to cut it down. As a result, 300-400 year old trees still stand. Josiah’s mistake became our blessing. Because it was forgotten, this forest with trees that are older than our nation survived.
Evidently there are times that being forgotten isn’t all bad.
Yet, after this week’s travels, I’ll say that I’m grateful to be remembered.
Through the prophet Isaiah God asked a vivid question to add emphasis to his point, Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. (49:15-16)
I assure you today, by the authority of the Word of God, that you are not forgotten. Your Father’s love for you is as fresh, alive, powerful and rich as it has ever been. He will never love you less and could not love you more.
He knows. He remembers. He sees.
And, if it feels somehow like you are overlooked or forgotten in this season—the soul’s equivalent to the “Lost Forty” forest—even that experience will turn out for good. Roots are growing deeper, old growth is being preserved, dangers averted and His plan being carried forward.
His memory is good. Really good. Rest in that assurance today.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
You are not forgotten
John Stumbo was the pastor at Salem Alliance church when he was featured as a keynote speaker at the 2008 Peacemaker Conference. Shortly after that, John was stricken with a mysterious illness that nearly killed him, and he is still in a long process of recovery (he finally regained his ability to swallow this spring; since he regained consciousness in early 2009, he had been living off of a feeding tube). His is a remarkable story. He's keeping a blog and I occasionally check in with it; here is a portion of a post that struck me deeply just now (emphases mine):