Spiritual Forgetfulness

Have you ever found yourself looking for something only to forget what you were looking for? One issue I regularly wrestle with is remembering things. As any of my family or friends can remind you, rather quickly (and with far too hearty a nod) I am a forgetful individual. I regularly find myself walking out the front door, getting into my car, and then having to return in doors because I have forgotten something. My poor wife, in her kindness, has always been patient and accommodating to my bouts of proper mental fogginess. But as an experienced man of forgetfulness, I have found ways to circumvent such issues. I set up reminders on my phone. I set up alarms. I email myself important things. And yet, I have still been able to forget events and calls nonetheless.

We can be properly forgetful of ordinary matters (as I’ve attested) but what about spiritual matters? Are you a man or woman of spiritual forgetfulness? I don’t mean, do you forget that there is a spiritual realm in broad terms, or something like that. What I’m asking is, “Do you forget about God Himself?” Perhaps reading your Bible was a cherished practice and pattern of your world, but as of today, you can’t even remember where you’ve placed it. Perhaps you used to commit yourself to regular prayer, whether it be in an informal period of devotions or something a bit more traditional like Morning or Evening prayer from a helpful tool called the Book of Common Prayer.

All considerations aside, we are all prone to forgetting about the things of God. I think this is why we find so often throughout Scripture that God commands His people to establish memorials. We are instructed to create tangible, visible reminders of God’s faithfulness to us. Abraham was instructed to circumcise himself and his children forever as a visible reminder of God’s covenant fidelity (cf. Genesis 17). We find Jacob regularly littering the ancient near east with altars of remembrance. We know that God commanded Israel to have various feast days annually celebrated so that they might never forget the steadfast loving kindness of God towards them.

The Church has been given several basic reminders that we are often slow to take up. God has given His church the gift of Sunday worship. How many of you today have forgotten about this benefit? We treat Sunday morning worship as an appendage to the Christian life. If we likened it to food, for some of us, we treat worship like those nasty rotten orbs known as brussel sprouts. For some reason, they accompany that great feast known as Thanksgiving but nobody knows why. We treat worship as a secondary aspect of the Christian life. We treat it as optional in our hearts and we prove it by our laxity towards attendance, and even more so in our laxity of concern towards those other Christians for which God calls us to care. Nevertheless, rather than being a spiritual brussel sprout, our Lord’s Day act of public worship should be the center piece of our Christian devotion because it is ordained by God, for His glory and our good.

God knows that we are a forgetful people. He knows that we are quick to think little of the gifts He’s provided. But even more so, we are quick to forget how marvelous He is, and what a privilege it is to be called Christian. Our familiarity with these gifts often has a habit of devaluing them in our hearts, but their value is not contingent upon our perception, but upon what God has said. And yet we forget. We forget how God has been faithful to us in spite of us. We forget how God has promised to be faithful to us forever.

But the marvelous thing we must consider is that God never, ever forgets about us. Christian, hear these words as God’s language to you, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget YOU.” (Isa. 49:15 ESV) God has not forgotten you today, though you may have forgotten Him. We need Him more than our next meal, our next paycheck, our next EVERYTHING. Let not the shame or guilt of your forgetfulness keep you from returning to His presence today. As Hebrews writes, “… we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.'” (Hebrews 3:14-15)

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