Thursday, May 30, 2019

Needing Reminders for a Photographic Memory

Suggested Reading: Exodus 13:1-16

My memory is a little schizophrenic. I can look at the words on a page and remember them exactly when I want to. I'm able to recall the tiniest bit of trivia at a moment's notice and recall study notes for tests extremely easily. But ask me to remember that I have to be somewhere at 2:00 Thursday afternoon or to recall a conversation I had with my wife last night and I might as well be brain dead. Now, putting aside for a moment the conversations with my wife (I still insist half of them don't actually take place), the only way I can recall appointments is to set myself several reminders. Sometimes, these reminders take the forms of sticky notes left where I will see them, but my schedule is so inconsistent that sticky notes don't really work anymore. Most of the time I have to plug the appointment into the calendars in my phone and tablet and create a minimum of three reminders, one or two for the day of the event and then a few days before as well. Otherwise, I'm likely to forget completely. Once I didn't set a reminder and didn't remember an appointment until two months after it had passed. Reminders are an absolute necessity for me.

But just as badly as I forget appointments, nearly all of us have a tendency to forget the ways God has intervened in our lives. We have short memories and when the next tragedy strikes or trouble arises we can find it difficult to look past the current circumstances and remember how God has stepped in to help in the past. That is one of the reasons that, when God was leading his people out of slavery in Egypt, God commanded them, "On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. You must celebrate this event in this month each year after the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites" (Exodus 13:4-5, NLT). God was setting up a reminder for the people to help them constantly remember God's power, kindness, and desire to set them free from their enemies. Since Israel settled in the land and then consequently forgot their devotion to God, we shouldn't find it surprising that scripture says they didn't celebrate this Passover feast until centuries later under the reigns of Josiah and Hezekiah. They never set up their reminders.

As God intervenes in our lives, as God saves us from various trials, helps us through times of difficulty or provides for us in the most impossible of circumstances, we would be wise to set up little reminders in our own lives, memorials that constantly keep us mindful of God's acts of love and power on our behalf. Sometimes they can be celebrations like Christmas and Easter traditions that have our own little twist. They might be our own little rituals that serve to slow things down and make us think about God's goodness, anniversaries of important events in life or a little plaque that sits on our desk at the office. Whatever God has done in your life, memorialize it, be intentional about remembering it and telling the story from time to time. You will be amazed at how much those reminders help when difficult times arise.

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