Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Devotional: Memory

I often forget how helpful memory is. Simply spending a day with an Alzheimer’s patient will probably cause me to immediately thank God for the provision of memory. This has been on my mind a lot lately as I look back over the last year. Though there are new surroundings, I have seen God take me through very similar circumstances of trusting and waiting on his timing. Memory affords us many blessings. But I can think of three particular blessings that have helped me this year.

Without memory we wouldn’t be able to see how far we have come. We wouldn’t be able to see the work that God has promised to faithfully complete in us (Phil. 1:6). It enables us to see progress in a poor attitude towards a co-worker. Memory is what gives us grace to continue serving in a hard ministry position because of the small difference we see in the life of the person we are ministering to. God does not have to give us these insights into our spiritual state. But He graciously opens our eyes to see the softened heart towards an enemy, or the increased trust in His all-encompassing provision for each and every circumstance.

Without memory we would easily forget our great sinfulness and our need for the great Savior. The Israelites forgot God on a regular basis, and we are no better. David says in Psalm 51, “my sin is ever before me.” Memory forces our transgressions to be ever present in our minds. But memory also forces us to look to the One who was pierced for our transgressions. It is when we feel the most sinful that we must cry out to God for the righteousness of Christ on our behalf. If we didn’t have memory we would be so prone to think of ourselves as good. We do so even without amnesia. But it is in the mercy of God that He allows me to see my sin, but then immediately see my great Savior.

Without memory we would lose hope when all seems lost. Often what gets me through the winter is the memory of summer. It is the trust that warmth and sun will soon come to melt away the cold. Even in spiritual darkness it is helpful for me to look back and remember, even faintly, a time when I loved Him unashamedly, when I delighted in His Word. Sometimes the darkness lasts for months, sometimes hours and sometimes just for my morning devotions. But it is because I remember the past that I am able to pray for the present. I know His promises, and I have seen them manifested in my life, therefore I am able to rest in the memory and hope for the future. In the winter, I can trust that the summer sun will come because I remember what it looked like, what the warmth felt like on my skin, and how it lighted my paths and made me see more clearly. Darkness only lasts for a night, though some seasons have more night than others. Just like the summer sun sustains us through the winter, so the memory of the Son’s presence and hope in His promises sustain us in the dark, long winter of despair.

Memory is a mercy from our Father. He does not desire for us to be left to ourselves and so he gives us glimmers of hope. Memory can serve as one of those glimmers. Even when He feels far away we can trust that He will never leave us. So next time I am overcome with my sinfulness, or discouraged over my feelings towards spiritual things, or when intense trials come and I feel that there is no hope. I pray that I can look back on the memories of a fonder time and know that each season is appointed its time and must come to an end.


Tarters said...

Amen! Thank you for this reminder Court! What a blessing it is for us to REMEMBER what we are without Christ and that he died to save us from that state. There is a girl at our church who helps care for a women with Alzheimer's, the women is a Christian, but because of her disease...she forgets her salvation daily. Her care giver asked us to keep her in our prayers...that God would give her a peace that passes all medical understanding and she can rest in her blessed assurance.

Love You Courtney!

cdt said...

Thank you, Emily for sharing that story. I will pray for this woman.

Love you and can't wait to see you!