I have a terrible problem, and I am wondering if you can relate. The condition exhibits itself during everyday life in small, harmless ways. However, it is most evident when life throws me curve balls or when my need for stability is rocked, and then it creates harmful side effects such as hopelessness, sadness, pessimism and overall crankiness.
The truth is I suffer from FORGETFULNESS….so badly that my mind literally goes blank when overshadowed by life’s difficult circumstances. You might be wondering what it is I forget. Honestly, I forget all that is good in my life both past, present and future. The forgetfulness is not simply momentary, but it lingers and takes up residence in my heart until all I can think about is what my problem is, how bad it is and how there is no certain way out. Can you relate?
The Dictionary defines such a term as: neglectful or inattentive.
What I find curious is how the definition seems to attach responsibility to the condition of forgetfulness as if one has a choice of whether to be neglectful or inattentive. Another words, we are not born neglectful or inattentive but somehow choose to be.
Therefore, if we have a choice whether to be neglectful or inattentive, then we also have a choice not to be. Sounds rather Shakespearean doesn’t it?
I am convinced one of the most effective ways the enemy attacks our faith is through forgetfulness!
It is one of the first lines of attack when life gets hard. When we forget all that is good, we have no other choice but to focus on all that is wrong.
When we forget how good God is, we forget how powerful He is.
When we forget how gracious God is, we forget how merciful He is.
When we forget how faithful God is, we forget how present He is.
A few years ago, after studying how Joshua led the Israelites through the parted waters of the Jordan river, I decided to become intentional in remembering. Just in case you forgot…upon crossing the river, God instructed Joshua to have 12 men, one from each of the tribes of Israel, to take 12 stones from the middle of the river and place them where they slept that night. When the children asked what the stones meant, they were to serve as a memorial or sign FOREVER of what God did for them.
I decided my first line of defense against forgetting would begin much the same way, with rocks. Not boulders like those the Israelite men carried on their shoulders, but pebbles large enough to write on and date. Each and every time I experience a blessing, an answered prayer, an intervention, a moment of grace or an undeserved mercy, there is an accounting on a rock. My pile of rocks has become quite large, and when I take the opportunity to dump them out, shuffle through them and remember, they overshadow any difficult circumstance and even serve to remind me how God brought me through.
These silly little rocks are very precious to me because they help me remember when my heart is caught up in the moment and my mind is so prone to forget. They represent memorial markers or faith builders which provide me with an opportunity to be mindful and thankful. They offer me perspective and keep my heart from dwelling in the pit of fear. Finally, they help me trust that God is in control and will see me through whatever hardship is threatening to steal my joy and faith.
I am not a collector of many things, and certainly not anything of great value by the world’s standards, but I pray this bag of rocks will become a memorial to my own children long after I am gone, and when their children ask what these rocks mean, they will always remember….how powerful God is….how good God is….how gracious God is…..how merciful God is….and how present God is!
Perhaps it is time to create your own bag of memorial markers!
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits.” Psalm 103:2 (NIV)
“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”
Psalm 40:5 (NIV)
“Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth.” Psalm 105:5 (NIV)