The human memory is a fickle and unreliable thing. We often remember things we shouldn’t, and forget the things we should remember.
Then we feel terrible and unworthy when we can’t remember God’s goodness, faithfulness, and provision in the thick of a difficult situation even though it hasn’t been that long since He was good and faithful in another situation, sometimes exactly like the one we are currently facing?
Well, don’t feel bad. We are in good company.
The disciples weren’t too good at remembering either.
In Matthew 14 we see Jesus feeding the five thousand-plus crowd from just five loaves and two fish, with twelve baskets of leftovers.
Then in the very next chapter (though I’m not sure how much time has elapsed) they are once again confronted with a large crowd (over four thousand this time) who again need to eat, and the disciples—in all their wisdom—say, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” Even though they are sitting there with more food than they had the first time--seven loaves and a few fish.
The situation was exactly the same. The materials available—exactly the same—Jesus--exactly the same--the disciples—exactly the same—bewildered, worried.
Jesus’s response? He took the bread and fish, broke it and fed the crowd. And provided seven baskets of leftovers.
He didn’t rebuke the disciples for their short memory. He didn’t roll his eyes. He didn’t shake his head in despair. He didn’t give up on them. He just kept loving people and letting them be a part of it.
God knew our memories would fail us at times. This is why He has always provided us with ways to remember. For example . . .
Samuel’s Ebenezer stone (I Samuel 7:7-12)
Various memorial stones erected (e.g. Genesis 28:10-22; Joshua 4:1-8)
The tassels attached to the four corners of a garment (Numbers 15:37-41)
Communion (I Corinthians 11:23-26)
I read recently about a woman who each week writes down something that she is either grateful for that week (an answered prayer, God’s protection or goodness, a blessing) and puts it in a box. Then on December 31st she pulls them all out of the box and reads through them, reminding herself of 52 examples God’s goodness.
I think this is a wonderful idea, but I might take a peek or two before the end of the year — just to remind myself a bit more often of all that God has done for me. Perhaps you will too.