When Jesus Refuses to Remember
“Just drive around the block and pick me up. I’ll run into the store and be right back.”
My dad had a quick errand while we were out driving, practicing for my upcoming driver's license test. As I rounded the next corner panic gripped my stomach as tightly as my fingers on the steering wheel. I eased the big station wagon into the nearest parking spot and exhaled. I wasn’t supposed to be driving alone! I found my father at the store counter, ready to check out.
“Dad! I can’t just drive around without you!”
“Oh, I forgot. You should have reminded me.”
It seems that as I get older there are more and more things that I need to remember and things I have trouble remembering unless I write them down. There are things I put away in special locations so I won’t forget where they are… those items and treasures that are never seen again.
But remembering has been my problem from the beginning. Every time I left for school my mom would give me the list of “remembers”: Button your coat; Don’t dawdle; Come right home! And of course I would conveniently forget whatever didn’t fit into my plan.
How many times have I heard or used the excuse “I forgot to remember” or “You forgot to remind me!” Somehow we think we aren’t responsible if we ask someone else to do the remembering for us.
And then there is the catchall “I don’t recall” that we hear when we try to hold someone accountable for a promise or a verification of what they said or saw. I usually don’t put much credence in that excuse, especially if I suspect the person is dodging the question. Isn’t it really a case of “I refuse to remember”?
There are things I want to forget, though. Ugly things I have witnessed. Traumatic events that left scars on my memories. The things I’m not proud of saying or doing. The things that I know really hurt someone.
I know dwelling on them does no good. I know I need to replace them with “whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable” (Philippians4:8). I need to be thinking of good things that I can praise God for.
I need to refuse to remember those negative things. Because I know my Lord Jesus does. He refuses to remember my sins and those of all who throw themselves at His mercy. “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34 ESV).
God really doesn’t need my help remembering other things though. How foolish to think I would have to keep reminding Him of what He told me He would do for me. Forgive me. Watch over me. Give me good things. Stay with me. Listen to me. Never leave me alone. He will never forget to remember these things.
Years later, my dad and I would chuckle about that driving episode when he forgot he wasn’t supposed to leave me alone driving the car. But then came the time when he would just say, “I don’t recall.” The confusion on his face left me with my memories as his mind refused to remember so much of his full life. Eventually there were so few things he could recall… including my name.
My Lord has a perfect memory when He chooses. Though He says He will remember my sins no more, at the same time He recalls His promises to His people… to me.
I can count on those promises… to be with me always, to never forsake me, to love me forever, to forgive me again and again. And to fill my life with abundance and joy!
Leaving my guilt at the cross,