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Saturday, May 11, 2013

'Member?

Remember - I saw this word a lot on vacation, as the parking garages in Tennessee had this word printed in nice bold, block letters below the level of the garage you were on.  The prompt was to "remember" where you parked.  This was printed on each sign about every 50 yards or so, just to help you focus on where it was you left the car.  Now, in a city garage this might be important, but we observed it in several parking structures, big and large.  So, "remembering" where one parked seemed to be quite important.  The word kept ringing in my ears - maybe because my best friend kept saying, "...'member?"  We made a little joke of it, but really "remembering" is not a joke - it is serious business - especially when God is doing the remembering!

Remember what you said to me, your servant—I hang on to these words for dear life!  These words hold me up in bad times; yes, your promises rejuvenate me.  (Psalm 119:49-50 MSG)

David cries out to God to "remember" what he had said to David.  Now, we don't have any clear indication of exactly WHAT he is asking God to remember, but we know David is holding on to the words as though his life depended on it.  Maybe that is because our life does depend on us remembering what God has said and then holding on to them!  When we do the remembering it is one thing - when we ask God to remember them, it is quite another.  When David is asking God to remember, he is asking God to remain aware of him, what is going on in his life, and what is about to happen.  It is the faculty of calling to mind - remaining attentive - remembering the one who is the object of your focus.  

It is kind of like us remembering where we parked the car.  We knew the object of our focus was a red Chevy rental car, parked on level 4 of the garage, very close to the elevators.  As we read each sign along the way, we kept saying to each other, "Remember!"  As we progressed up the ramp to where we "thought" our car was, we did not realize we were going to the next level.  As we saw the number "5" with the word "Remember" underneath it, we both looked at each other and said, "Nope, not what we remembered!"  Recall is a powerful tool, isn't it?  It is a "re-collecting" of the thoughts you have accumulated on a particular subject, until you bring them all together.  The more you get them together, the better your ability it is to "remember".  First, we recalled from our memory the floor we parked on (4), then the location (near an elevator, just not near the elevator we took up!).  Recall has its limitations because it is often based on the influence of present circumstances.  As the present circumstances exert their influence upon our emotions, we can sometimes "recall" parts of what we knew to be true, but the present influence can sometimes "skew" the accuracy of how we will interpret what it is we recall.

We were on the right floor when we got off the elevator - just not within the perspective of the elevator we took when we got out of the car!  So, our circumstances skewed our interpretation of what we "remembered".  The good news is:  God doesn't get memories skewed by the circumstances!  He recalls things exactly as they are - so we can hang our hats on what it is he recalls!  David says it well, "These promises rejuvenate me."  Remembering as God remembers should do just that - rejuvenate and revive us.  If the memories we can recall just cause us anxiety and worry, they are likely being influenced by the present circumstances, pushed on by past events, and filtered through other skewed memories we have stored up.  When we recount what it is God has said - what he clearly outlines in his promises to us (his Word) - we get an accurate picture of the circumstances.  God's promises help to provide the right filter - keeping us from becoming overwhelmed when the remembering doesn't go as well as we planned.

Remember - God will never leave nor forsake you.  Remember - God's love for you is measured not in what you do for him, but in what he has already done for you in the gift of his Son's life.  Remember - God honors those who honor him.  Remember - God takes away the dead weight in our hearts and replaces it with the freedom of his love and grace.  Recall is a powerful tool - learning to take what it is we remember to God, allowing him to give us the most accurate power of recall which is based on what it is HE remembers is the most powerful tool we have for seeing as God sees.  Just sayin!