I am writing this blog on Memorial Day – a day set aside each year to honor and remember those who have sacrificially given their lives in service to this country. It’s a day of remembering.
The concept of “remembering” has been on my heart in the weeks leading up to this day. We remember the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf. We remember the lives of those we’ve loved and lost. And maybe we even remember ourselves…
When we reflect on the losses, disappointments, and difficulties of this lifetime, do we just remember the pain of those experiences? …or do we also consider the healing, the learning, and the growing that have resulted from those trials? When we think of those who have let us down, loved us imperfectly, and hurt our hearts, do we dwell on the failure of others? …or do we focus on the One who has never let us down, the One who always loves perfectly, the One who continually heals our hearts?
We can choose the nature of our remembering.
How do we remember? With bitterness? anger? regret? Or do we remember from a place of fresh perspective…forgiveness…gratitude…freedom?
If we consider our pain without acknowledging the blessings, we dishonor our memories and the deeper value of our experiences. We have suffered in vain. Yet if we acknowledge only that which has been pleasant, while denying the cost – we are dishonest. We devalue the trials, tears, and prayers that accompanied us on the path to becoming the version of ourselves we are today.
Personally, I choose to remember it all. It is honest. It is reality. It is my story. It cost me something…and in turn, I was given much.
As I have been reflecting on the nature of remembering, I’m also contemplating the remembering of God. How does He remember?
“…I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
God does not remember our sins. Because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, God doesn’t see us as wretched, broken sinners. Because of Jesus, He sees us as new creations – whole, forgiven, white as snow. Do we see ourselves that way? While others may hold the past against us, God chooses to remember only our new identity in Him.
God remembers His people. He remembers by name. He remembers our needs. We may feel abandoned, rejected, or
forgotten by ones we’ve loved. But God will never leave or forsake us; He does
not forget those He loves. There may have been moments when Noah felt abandoned by God; forgotten and forsaken in that boat. But no…Noah and his family were near to the heart and mind of God. And so are we.
“I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:15)
God remembers His promises. While the world is full of empty promises, God is faithful to keep His Word. He does not forget His promises to us. Not ever…not one.
How does God remember? God remembers according to His grace – according to His love – according to His faithfulness.
How do we remember? Today do we remember our lost loved ones only according to the tragedy? only according to the pain? Did they suffer for nothing? Certainly not. Was there beauty and laughter and joy in the time they were with us? I’m sure there was. May we remember and celebrate that, as well.
How do we remember us?
Do we remember our own personal battlegrounds according only to our struggles? according only to our disappointments? Have we suffered for nothing? Certainly not. Was there growth and healing and new life that sprang up from the broken places in our hearts? I trust there was.
May we all remember clearly…courageously…honestly.
May we remember as God does – according to His grace, love, and faithfulness. May we perceive ourselves and our experiences the way God views us and our lives. May we also see others through lenses of love. And may we extend the grace that we’ve been given to those who need it… including ourselves. Today, may the nature of our remembering reflect the very nature of God.