As you may know, I like to read about history or social issues and in the past 15 years or so, I have read a few hundred books. However, recently I’ve realized that much of what I have read I have forgotten. I look at my bookshelf with all those books and I have a faint recollection of what the book was about, but many of the details are gone.
A few weeks ago at our men’s prayer group, someone was talking about something that happened in the Pacific Theater during World War 2. I listened with interest as he described a few things and then mentioned the book he had learned it from. I thought it sounded familiar but I wasn’t sure. When I went home, I realized that I had read that book but couldn’t remember the details he was talking about.
However last week, while I was attending the Compassion Seminar, there were several times when in the course of the conversation, I remembered something from my reading that fit into the conversation. I was pleased that not only could I contribute to the conversation, but when I was prompted by certain events or by a certain topic, I remembered what I had read. I felt comforted that while my hearing may be getting worse, at least I’m remembering things!
As I reflected on this, I thought about God remembering things. There are several places in the Bible where it says, “God remembered.” When Noah was floating around in the ark during the flood, Genesis 8:1 says, “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.” Really? God told Noah to build the ark and then sent the deluge and now he remembers that he did this?
In Exodus, the people of Israel are now slaves under the rule of Pharaoh in Egypt. They are groaning in their slavery and needing to be rescued. And in Exodus 2:24 we read, “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.” God had sent Joseph and his family to Egypt so that they could grow to be a great nation and now after this has happened, did God forget and then one day, after hearing their groaning, say, “Oh yeah... I put those people there!”
God remembering is a way to remind us that while it may seem that God has forgotten us in our needs, God never really forgets. It may seem to us that God forgot and then remembered, much like I forgot things I read and then remembered them. But God never forgets us and is always aware of what we are facing and the challenges we have in our lives. God remembers us in our job struggles or in our challenges we face in rearing our children or facing health problems or whatever we may have to deal with. God never loses track of us nor does he forget his children.
Isaiah 49:15 says, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” That is a vivid and comforting picture of a God and Father who never forgets. Thanks be to God!