Recently some of the female members of our family took a little trip up to Cleveland, Ga. to Babyland General Hospital.
In case you're not familiar with that particular institution, don't plan on going there to be treated for any medical need. In spite of its name, it's not a place to go in order to give birth to a child or for specialized pediatric care.
Babyland General is the home of Cabbage Patch dolls -- those cute characters with the uniquely puckered faces, looking somewhat as if they've just tasted a lemon. The main purpose of the excursion was for our granddaughter to enjoy this experience, although I think the other participants in this "girls' trip" derived just as much pleasure from it.
During their visit, they witnessed the "births" of a few Cabbage Patch babies. My granddaughter was given the opportunity to adopt one of the dolls of her choosing. Later, I saw the cute video of her raising her hand while solemnly repeating the words of a promise to take care of her new baby forever and ever.
I can tell you that she has taken that vow seriously. Besides feeding the baby and changing its diaper, she takes it with her everywhere. At a local restaurant she placed her baby in its own high chair. And during a dental appointment, a kind-hearted dentist fulfilled her request to check her baby's mouth too.
We can be confident that God takes even more seriously His promises to care for His beloved children. The Bible assures us that God cannot lie and He is faithful to do whatever He says He will do.
The experiences of many of us over the years testify to this truth. He has made certain promises to watch over, provide for, and be with those whom He has adopted into His family.
He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He has promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19). He has assured us that He will provide us with the necessities of life if we will seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
God's Word assures us that He will direct our steps, give us strength, bestow wisdom on us, and bless us with peace. The Bible pictures God as a shepherd taking care of His sheep, as a mother bird watching over her chicks, and as a strong fortress protecting its inhabitants.
He promises to make His home with us now, and to allow us to make our home with Him for eternity.
You don't have to be a fan of the "Toy Story" series of movies to recognize that eventually some other toy may replace that doll as the center of my granddaughter's affection. Or one day she'll be so busy with other things in life that her pucker-faced baby will likely spend most of her time setting on a shelf or in the back of a closet. The promise she made as an almost 3-year-old at Babyland General will gradually fade in her memory.
But that's not the case with God. He will never shelve us or throw us aside as a forgotten plaything of the past. We will always be able to depend on God to love us and fulfill His promises to us. When we put our trust in Christ as Savior, the Creator of the universe vowed to be our Father, to love us, and to care for us forever and ever.
Let's not ever doubt that truth or forget it. God never will.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.