During this past Christmas season I found myself very distracted by the busyness of the world. Consequently, I felt panicked and depressed and joyless for much of this year's season. I would have told you that I was focusing on the Lord because I had enough "Spiritual activities" mixed in there to make me feel that way, but my overall demeanor and mood was truly reflecting what was going on in my heart. I had abandoned reading my Bible and praying for Christmas shopping and event planning. As a result, I was not focused on the Lord.
About two weeks ago, I knew this turmoil was going on inside me, and I called a good friend to ask her to pray for me about it. In the absence of reaching her in person, I left voicemail messages for her describing what was going on and asking for prayer. She responded in kind. My friend reminded me that my state before God was not dependent upon my actions. God had not changed. God was the same today as He was yesterday. My condition before Him was not then nor had it ever been dependent upon my actions. I stand in relationship with God because of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for my sins. I am righteous before God because of His righteousness and not my own. She urged me to remember that and to read my Bible out of gratitude for that truth and not to miss the blessing of who God is by neglecting reading my Bible and praying to Him.
As I finished listening to my friend's messages, I was on my lunch break from work and had arrived at my destination. I hung up the phone and stepped out of the car. I was in the parking lot of a local grocery store. I immediately crossed paths with an elderly lady (approximately 80 yeas old) leaving the grocery store. She was being followed by a grocery store employee who was carrying her bags for her. Upon looking into this woman's eye's it was obvious what was happening at that moment. She didn't know where her car was parked. I spoke with her briefly as the grocery store attendant helped her hunt for her car. I assured her that forgetting where you parked your car happens to people all the time of varying age groups (myself in particular). But, I could see she wasn't comforted by my words because she had moved into feeling panicked. I could see the panic and fear in her eyes and it communicated much, much more than her words did. I could see all the lies and mixed messages that are in one's head when you give into the fear of forgetfulness. Irrational thoughts such as, "I will never find my car again." "I am doomed to live in this parking lot for the rest of my life." and "Everyone here knows where their car is, and everyone knows I forgot where mine is." I also saw real concerns in her eyes such as, "I can't believe I did that." "I have absolutely no recollection of where my car is parked, and I'm afraid." and "Is this the beginning of losing my memory forever?"
After about 20 minutes passed and the pleasant elderly lady was reunited with her car and returned home, I was heading back to my car to return to work. As I did so, I realized that God had just given me a very real picture of what it looks like to forget what you know, to forget truth. The fear I saw in that woman's eyes was the fear and panic I was experiencing for the past several weeks. I was reminded of the many, many times God urges us in the Bible to "remember" ("write it down, tell it to your children, build an altar to remember what God has done for you, do not forget the LORD your God"). God knows we are a forgetful people. He knows the kind of fear that is produced by not remembering (and resting in) who He is.
I stared "the fear of forgetting" in the face that afternoon, and it was heartbreaking. Now, in the afterglow of once again remembering God's promises (and in gratitude for His faithfulness), I join with the psalmist and say,
"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate."
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