Yet Another Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
There are many positive things about aging. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what they are. That’s my problem. I can’t remember much of anything – and what I do remember can be inaccurately influenced by time, bias, and suggestion. I am not alone. Recently a friend was relating a childhood incident that happened with her parents and her three siblings. “The funny thing is,” she mused, “although we were all there, we all remember it differently.”
Police officers experience this all the time. When eyewitnesses are questioned about who they saw do the robbery, the descriptions indicate the crime was committed by a short, tall, black, Caucasian with short, long, brown, blond hair wearing blue sweatpants or a brown suit.
Most of us do not intend to shade the truth, but sometimes we do. For example, if we tell an embellished story long enough, we actually think it is true. If we are having difficulty with a person, our minds magnify their imperfections. We even believe our fantasized ideas about how much better things were in the good old days, but were the good old days as good as we remember them to be? Maybe not!
Such was the case when the Israelites came out of Egypt. For years they groaned for deliverance because of their unbearable hardships (Exodus 1:8- 22; 2:23; 5:7). However, when God delivered them, they grumbled about how much better off they had been in Egypt.
When they didn’t like how God provided for them, they’d recall their distorted view of the good old days. “Remember the fish we ate in Egypt… (Deuteronomy 11:5)” or “It would have been better if the Lord had just killed us in the land of Egypt! At least there we had plenty to eat (Exodus 16:3 ERV).” Yes, they may have had fish, but they also had oppressive slavery under cruel task masters to the point that even their baby boys were killed at birth.
Later God would tell them to remember when they were slaves in Egypt. Remember that God delivered them to freedom (Deuteronomy 5:15). Remember what God did to Pharaoh and to Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:18). Remember how God led them through the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:2).
This was more than exhorting them just to remember these things; it was telling them to remember accurately. “Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live (Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT)!”
Consider this… Human memory is flawed. Life, even the Christian life, is not easy. So when times get rough, we might imagine it was better before God revealed Himself to us. Not true. We forget how lonely, depressed, angry, hopeless, or void of purpose we felt without God. We forget all God has done for us.
Sadly, I know I forget the many wonderful things God has done for me. Fortunately, my salvation is not tied to my faulty memory. God remembers me even when I forget Him (Isaiah 49:15, 16). But I want to remember. So I continually ask, “God, please help me remember Your love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness to me and my loved ones, plus all those little prayers You answered immediately and the ones where You wisely did not give me what I wanted because You had a better plan.”
One final thought…
God always remembers us; we should always remember Him!