The past few months– I have been CONVINCED… I’m losing my short term memory.
I don’t know if it’s because I stay up too late, or that I’m not eating right, (or just not paying attention..) — who knows!
All that I know, is that I could be on the phone with someone and instantly forget what they just said. Or get directions from someone and then ask again because I forgot. Plus, I find myself constantly asking my friends, “What was I just saying? What did you ask?”
Can you imagine my thought process?
“Oh gosh.. what if i’m developing short term memory loss…Altzeimers? Lord! I’m only 21! IM ONLY 21!! There’s a lot I want to remember!”
“What if I lose my job because I can’t remember emergency details??”
“What if I have to live the rest of my life writing Post It notes everywhere to remember who I AM!”
I’m ridiculous, I know. Don’t act like your mind doesn’t wander here sometimes!
But seriously. This sounds really silly, but I have sincerely been freaking out a little bit on the inside because I can’t remember things!
All the while, in my Bible reading, prayer and in the quiet moments, God keeps ironically impressing these words on my heart.. “Kaitlin, remember, and don’t forget.”
THANKS God. Just keep rubbin’ it in! I already feel bad enough for forgetting things all of the time– I can’t help it, and I’m trying!!
God has been showing me that my tendency to forget goes so far beyond things that are superficial, minute and short term–and is a much deeper kind of forgetting that can actually be detrimental to my whole being.
Psalm 78 is one of those chapters that retells the whole entire story of Israel and its’ history. Sometimes when I see these parables, I just skip over them (shhhh..). Why? Because its the same story over and over and over and overrrrrrr…… We all know the drill of Israel:
Israel walks with God, watches God do CRAZY things that will blow your mind like split a sea, draw water from a rock, lead the crowd by a cloud, THEN Israel find something to be dissatisfied about, they grumble against God–Israel wanders. Israel sins against God, repeatedly. Israel finds another “god” to serve. Because why?
Numerous times throughout this passage, it highlights the very root of their sin: They FORGOT.
“They did not keep God’s covenant, and refused to live by his instructions. They forgot what he had done– the great wonders he had shown them, the miracles he had done for their ancestors.”(78:11-12)
“Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel, they did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies.” (78:41-42).
“They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plains of Zoan.” (78:43)
And as a result…
“…they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws. They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as crooked bows.” (78:56)
And what about Eve?
The serpent told her if she ate of the fruit, she would be like God. So she ate it and man fell.
Remember what God told you?
“So God created man in His own image— In the image of God He created them” (Genesis 1:27)
You’re identity was already in God, you were already LIKE HIM!
Hmmm. Ya know, I’m thinkin’ the reason the same unhealthy cyclic story of Israel & God’s chosen people is so constant throughout the Bible because *hello* — How often do we forget?
Forget who we are, forget what God has done for us not only in our own lives, but in those before us? We forget how effective Christ’s work for us was on the cross, how sufficient it was and is! We forget what God has freed us from. And like those wandering Israelites, we run back to the same lovers and idols that bind us right back up again into a routine of giving ourselves to them over and over again, only to receive nothing in return? We forget how BIG God’s love is, we forget about forgiveness. And instead– We run. We run away from Him, we lose faith in the God we once trusted so deeply–Why?
Because we forget, too.
Why else would God have called for what seem to be drastic measures when it comes to remembering to follow Him wholeheartedly?
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” -Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Tie them to your hands, write them on your FOREHEAD, are you kidding me?
Whether God was being serious, I don’t know– But I do know, that if they were really that consistent with remembering the love of the Lord and what He had asked of them — It would be SO hard for them to forget.
Remembering is powerful.
Remembering has the ability to make a monumental shift in the reality we live in. We can become so weighed down with the reality of where we are– whether we are burned out, overwhelmed with burdens, carrying the weight of a family, feeling purposeless, dealing with sin, rudely awakened to the horrid things going on in the world, aware of the fact that we are not satisfied or content, terrified of the future, maybe depressed–hopeless. We’re all somewhere. It’s easy to find ourselves honed in on our feelings and what we see that we forget to remember who we are, who our God is, what He has done, and the promises he has given us.
But! When we remember, our entire attitude can change. Not our circumstances, but our outlook. Remembering these things takes the scales off of our eyes that cause us to reflect inward and allow them to be miraculously opened to a breathtaking reality that our God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Jeremiah shows a great example of this when he was weeping over the city of Jerusalem and was beyond overwhelmed with the horrible condition of the city and the loftiness of his circumstances and still said:
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease,
Great is his faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance,
therefore, I will put my hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)
And boom! Just like that, hope comes forth from remembering the God who saves. Did Jeremiah’s circumstances change– Nope! But instead of wallowing in depression and angst, His remembrance opened his eyes to the reality of God’s faithfulness and presence with him even in destruction.
Forgetting is truly detrimental to our being. It has caused a whole lot of trouble in history (as we have surely seen!)
This whole not being able to remember things sucks, but forgetting who God is, what He’s done and who He has made and called me to be– is even worse.
May we not be a people that pleads to see a move of God just to forget it.
May we not be a chosen generation who fails to remember his faithfulness in the past and his promise to be faithful to us for the rest of our lives and eternity.
May we be a people of remembrance and call to mind daily the awe and wonder of the God we’ve seen– the God we know.
“So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
Then, they will not be like their ancestors–
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God.” (Psalm 78:7-8)