Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where Are My Keys?

Mounted on the wall by the back door is a set of hooks for catching keys. I must be using the wrong kind of bait, though, because those hooks come up empty more often than not.

At least once a week, I fly in the house to turn off the alarm and something distracts me--a phone call, a screaming child, an impatient request for a snack. Mindlessly, I put the keys down on the kitchen cabinet, desk, washer, or stack of diapers. A few minutes later, I usually notice the hook is empty, and there begins the search.

It's scary to think that mere minutes have passed, but I already can't remember what I just did. But, that is human nature--we are forgetful beings. I remember my mother saying if women really remembered the actual pain of childbirth, they'd never have another baby. Thankfully, pain is dulled in the memory...but so are many other things.

One issue I have struggled with forever is remembering who God is and what He has done for me. In those times when I feel low, I only remember the trials, the bitter lot. I forget His blessings, His faithfulness.

It seems the Old Testament character, Naomi, had the same problem. Scripture says she, her husband, and two sons left Judah because of famine and went to reside in the land of Moab for ten years. While there, her husband and two sons died.

With only her two daughters-in-law left, she decided to return home to Judah "for she had heard in the land of Moab that the LORD had visited His people in giving them food" (Ruth 1:6). Obviously, God had already sent rain to break the famine, blessing His people...blessing her as well by providing favorable circumstances for her to come home.

Did Naomi see this blessing? No. Understandably, she only saw her present pain.

When she returned to Bethlehem, "all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, 'Is this Naomi?'" (v. 19). It seems God had also once blessed her with friendship, and those friends remained true, expressing their concern for her well-being.

Naomi's reply, though, indicates she remembers no past blessings: "She said to them, 'Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?'"(v. 20-21, my italics).

Here, Naomi focuses on her bitter circumstances, but she unconsciously speaks of a way out of this all-consuming pain--remembrance of what God has done for her in the past, remembrance that at one point in her life, God had blessed her to the point where she could say she was "full."

Throughout the book of Ruth, it seems Naomi does not remember God's past blessings, His faithfulness until she sees evidence of blessings once again her life. And even then, Scripture doesn't show her praising God in remembrance, but, rather, her friends doing so: "Then the women said to Naomi, 'Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age'" (Ruth 4:14-15).

I don't want this to be my story. I don't want to forget God's faithfulness and His previous blessings during my entire trip through the valley. Even in my pain, I want to remember, to have hope.

Jesus told His disciples, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (John 14:26).

This is my hope, your hope--that in the valley of despair, the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance God's word. God's faithfulness. God's voice spoken to us through the Scriptures.

But for the Spirit to do that, He must have something to "re-mind" us of in the first place. To be reminded of His word, we must put it in our minds to start with.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, I am so forgetful! It really is pathetic, but I do not want my sort of human forgetfulness of everyday life things to spill over to my walk with God.

    It often does though. I take my eye off his provision and focus on the problem at hand.

    Thank you for this post! I will take it to heart and let its word stick to my soul.

    Blessings as you go forward this week!