Don’t forget to remember…Those are the beginning lines of a song that so aptly encapsulates my thoughts for today.
A few days ago, it was a friend’s birthday and in the build up to her birthday, I had noticed her progressively move from excitement about the day to some moodiness and next thing, she was semi depressed. As I spoke to her, she tried to cloud it but I just discerned and there and then I just remembered walking down a path like that before. Somehow, it just felt spooky to see her exactly replicating my own journey and there and then I realized how true it was, everything that happens to us in our lives is not just for our own benefits. Truly, it is mostly for someone else to look, see and learn.
Truth is we need to be people with a memory. Just to act right and with gratitude in itself requires that we have a memory, to keep promises and vows requires a memory. Truth is that, we cannot run away from how important it is to us to ‘remember the time’. Oftentimes, we get depressed because we forget, too easily, too quickly. The big battle of yesterday, where we fell on our knees and cried to God like our lives were about to end and where we truly needed Him to rise up for us and truly, He did, we effortlessly forget. Yesterday, it was the biggest storm you had seen yet, as soon as God comes through, it becomes but a fading memory today right?
Let’s look at Israel; they were living in light in Goshen when the rest of Egypt was in darkness. Wasn’t that a miracle? They saw the first 5 plagues and then saw God separate between them and Egypt. I’m sure at that time, that was the biggest miracle yet, the slaying of the First Born that finally convinced the hard hearted Pharaoh to let them go. I can imagine that the actual act of packing up to leave Egypt was the best thing that had happened to them yet, it was a show of God’s power.
And then came on the Red Sea, yet a bigger challenge, and they saw God’s miraculously part the Sea with the breath of his nostrils. My!!! That was a classic, one that I can imagine witnessing, I think I would have been shocked to my marrows, so much so that it would have lived with me for months and years. Just walking between two huge walls of water and being awed by the God that could do that. I would think that would make me have faith for the next impossible, after all these signs. But no these people murmured about everything, from garlic and cucumber to meat and drinking water. Had they no memory? Couldn’t they remember the great victories of their past? How could they be so ungrateful and so myopic?
But you know what? When I juxtapose my life with Israel, just before I take them to the cleaners, and address them with unsavory adjectives, the truth is that, ungrateful, forgetful Israel? that’s me right there. I remember the times that I cried to God with needs, sometimes just whispered a prayer and He came through. I remember the great battles that He fought on my behalf in the past although my fickle memory now considers them small relative to what lies ahead of me. So you see, I am just as ungrateful and forgetful as Israel was. And when I dare myself to consider, dwell upon and remember God’s many sided faithfulness these many years, the wars that He fought and won on my behalf, I realize that that is enough encouragement for me to face what appears to be an uncertain future. Just remembering that God, the one Great God is with me and looking through all the evidence that my life unfolded presents, I just want to say how sorry I am for every time I forget God’s hand in my past and get overwhelmed by the future.
And that was what went through my mind that day as I spoke with my friend. I reminded her of the previously great challenges turned victories which now appear hidden in the past. I reminded her how David’s memory of the bear and lion inspired him to take on Goliath. Yes, the challenges got progressively bigger, from a bear to a lion to a 9 feet tall soldier. (To put this in context, Yao Ming is the tallest player on the NBA, he looks like he’s all arms and limbs and he’s just 7 feet 6 inches tall). Now, imagine a 9 feet tall man again, dressed in full war dress, armed to the teeth that an entire army of trained soldiers had resisted for days? That was a first for David. So now, tell me about that battle you have never seen before.
But truly, the ability to ‘remember the time’ is the key to smiling amidst your storm. Remembering the time, sometime before when God came through for you and yours. Taking time to remember the past thanksgivings, whatever that victory has been in your life is all you need to stare the enemy in the face and overcome the present battle. I challenge you to call to remembrance!!!
Tell you what, the enemy remembers, Israel’s enemies always remembered the God of Israel who parted the Red Sea or dealt with their foes without an actual battle. They heard all those stories, and oftentimes were sore afraid of Israel. But that did not stop them from trying. It is up to me and you to call to remembrance the former victories, in the words of Paul to Timothy, his unfeigned faith. ‘Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering’. (Heb 11:32).
Don’t forget to Remember !!! That’s the key to walking in victory.