The Value of Remembering Intentionally

by Anne Claire McCain

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote out my entire devotion, printed off all of my materials, wrote down everything, and I thought, “Man. Good deal. Knocked that out of the way.”

And then I lost it.

The whole thing.

And I forgot every single thing I had written down.

It was in my forgetfulness, that I decided I would share about remembering.

How often, do we as Christians, find ourselves in this very same spot? Forgetting. The bible tells us over 166 times to REMEMBER. It must mean, that as humans, we are forgetful and irresponsible creatures.

Revelation 3:3 says:

“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”

And Isaiah 26:3 says:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

First we see a clear warning: that in our neglecting to remember, we are at risk, vulnerable to the one who seeks to destroy, who urges us to forget – to lose focus and to turn our focus to ourselves. But God, in His grace, has given us a helper, his spirit, as a way of reminder.

Scripture leads us to value remembering intentionally.

We are called to remember God’s word and his promises, to hold fast to it.

Remembering leads to repentance, perfect peace, steadfastness, and a greater trust in our Savior.

One of my favorite stories I’ve ever read is about a man named Sheldon and his wife Davy. Their life is one of love, poetry, exploration, friendships, and coming to know Jesus deeply. This was a real story, with real people, and real sinners, who were very much in love with Jesus and one another. Sheldon goes on in the story and later recounts losing his wife, his best friend, to cancer. And as a man bereft of his love, he seeks out the past as a reminder. He goes through old books, photographs, poems, letters, and journals that belonged to his wife. He reminds himself of times past, of deep love, of every little detail, and he soaks it in. He marinates in it.

Why does he do this? For Sheldon, he finds healing. He remembers, and he is able to rest and let go.

Some of use today might need to remember – to remember that Jesus really loves us. We need to remember a man who really did come 2,000 years ago, knowing everything about us and yet still wanting us enough to give his own life.

I think for me, if I’m honest, I forget to be excited about that, and I forget the calling we have. I forget the mess he pulled me out of and rescued me from. I forget his love, his deep, amazing, radical, exciting love, and I think I go into what Steven Lee calls “spiritual amnesia” which he says is “forgetting God’s deliverance and provision – a deadly disease.”

We forget, so we complain or get anxious or stressed.
And isn’t that our hearts?
when is this meeting going to be over? When is this kid going to stop blurting out? Etc. etc.

And we do this because we have stopped focusing on Him, and we’ve started focusing on ourselves. We are what Les Newsom calls “naval gazers.” We forget what is important and replace the immense joy of furthering God’s kingdom with daily routine and tasks or with our own set of problems.

Lee says, “the way to guard ourselves from this spiritual forgetfulness… is to remember. God graciously reminds us that we must remember his gracious redemption and provision. Take a moment and look back on God’s fingerprints all over your life.”

Psalm 105:5 tells us to “remember the wondrous works that he has done”

1) “Remember how God graciously awakened you to the ugliness of sin”

2) Remember how He has sustained you in periods of uncertainty

3) “Remember that impossible prayer request that God answered” and His perfect timing

4) Remember how He provided for you financially

5) Remember He uses broken vessels, not perfect people

6) Remember He loves us when we were unlovely, and that we can love the unlovable

7) Remember God is at work in the mundane

8) Remember He’s with you till the ends of the earth

9) Remember what kingdom He has called you to, and what a family He has called you into

10) “Remember God”

So, I’ll end with this:

Do you need to remember today, to rest in the one who has set you free, your rock, and let go of sin, worry, fear and anxiety, selfishness, our own will or plan, anger, apathy, gossip, or whatever it is that is weighing on your heart and just trust Him?

He’s got us. He’s got us and whatever is going on in our lives. He runs towards the mess, not away from it. Remember. Recount the great deeds of the Lord and rest.

He does not forget us, let us not forget Him today.