It begins even before we can speak. The miracle of a memory. As infants, it was the memory of the sound of our mother’s voice that calmed us down whenever she whispered to us in the dark. We recognized her voice because we recalled it. We were comforted because our memory connected the voice to the person who loved us most. As students, it was the memory of what we had learnt that ensured our confidence and our success during a test. We recognized the questions because we recalled the answers. We succeeded because we inserted right memories beside respective questions. And as Christians, it is the memory of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross that gives our lives meaning and direction whenever we seem lost and despairing. We are comforted because we remember. And we are strengthened because Jesus is not just a memory, but a present and living reality.
The promises of God are like lighthouses in the sea of our memories . When we feel lonely, it is the memory of Jesus’ promise to always be with us that encourages us (Matt 28:20). When we don’t know what to pray for in a perplexing decision, it is the promise of the Spirit’s intercession that urges us to pray anyway (Rom 8:26). When we are faced with opposition from family, it is the memory of our spiritual pedigree that spurs us to keep moving. When defeat seems inevitable, it is the memory of our eternal security in Christ that pushes us to keep fighting (Rom 8:37-39).
It is not enough to live off the memories of other people. We must learn to commune with God directly. Commentaries just won’t do it; they are helpful, but only as a secondary help. Sermons just won’t cut it; they are convicting but only as a pointer to a greater Truth. The Word of God must be our primary diet. Not just because the Word is untainted by human interpretation, but also because the Word is alive. The bible is not just a work of literature to be memorized and memorialized, it is also bread for the hungry, healing for the sick and life for the dead.
It is quite encouraging to note that scriptures present our God as a God who remembers. Our God remembers the promises made to His children. Because God remembered Noah and his family, He sent a wind to push away the waters and the ark rested on solid ground (Gen Gen 8:1). Because God remembered Hannah’s prayer for a son, the barren woman gave birth to a son (1 Sam 1:19). Because Jesus remembered the thief who was crucified beside him, the man is with Jesus today in paradise (Luke 23:42-43). And because God remembered His promise to Abraham, he sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to come and die for our sin so that men and God may once again be reconciled.
This is the miracle of a memory. We often like to quote this saying, “when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” It sounds creative and deep, but how many of us stop to think about the future of Satan? How many of us even know about the future that awaits us? How can we remind the devil of a future we are ignorant of? No wonder the memories of our own sinful pasts seem to overwhelm us. The Word of God is a worthwhile deposit for your memory bank. Please make a point to always add daily doses of His promises in your memory account. You are guaranteed a valuable interest because God’s Word does not return empty (Isaiah 55:11).
If you do not remember much about the Word of God, here are some verses that you can begin with and convert them into memories of hope. Please open your Bible and keep adding to the list:
When plagued by fear, it helps to remember these words from our Father;
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” [Isaiah 41:10]
When faced with great temptations, it helps to remember that;
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” [1 Corinthians 10:13]
When wearied by suffering, it helps to remember that;
“Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” [1 Corinthians 4:16-18]
When our hearts are disquieted and we can find any rest inside, it helps to remember God’s words through Paul;
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-7]
These words are not just mantras to be chanted or inspirational quotes written by past sages who are dead and gone. These are the very words of the living God. These are living words. They are words worth remembering. It is these words of life that made the disciples stay with Jesus when everyone else could no longer bear to listen. As Peter rightly noted, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” [John 6:68]. These are the Words of Life. If you must remember anything, remember the words written in the Word of Life. If you must forget anything, then let it not be these words. Because through these words; “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” [Matthew 11;5]
Thank God for the gift of memory today. Thank Him by remembering Him. Don’t forget to remember.
In His service and for His glory,