Do Not ForgetI remember as though it was yesterday, visiting the sweet young 17 year old Tanya, a young orphaned girl studying in one of the Tech Schools in St. Petersburg. I had gone with our daughter Cristi, who was living in Russia for a semeseter of college, to visit one of the orphan girls she had befriended. As we said our goodbyes, Tanya looked at me in the eyes and said, "Ni zabui" which means, "Do not forget." And I understood what she did not say, but was thinking: "Everyone forgets girls like me, but please remember me. Remember me as someone who matters and has worth. Do not forget about me as though I am invisible and never lived."
RememberingSo, this past week I have loved reflecting on two things:
What God Remembers, and What God Does Not Remember.
1) Remember Mercy and Steadfast LoveDavid says in the Psalm 25:6-7
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love; Remember not my sins.When I, like the Lord, remember God's mercy and steadfast love for me and for my children, I focus on their gifts and strengths rather than on their moodiness or failures and choices that disappoint me. And we go on to remember God's mercy for those children like Tanya who are still living without families, we wilI pray and speak out for the love and mercy due them, before a world that so comfortably forgets.
2) Remember God's Power to Turn Even Our Worst Tragedies and Theirs Into His Miraculous BlessingIn spite of his brothers' guilt for their horrible mistreatment that leaves Joseph living like an orphan, Joseph instead remembers God's redemption,
Fear not - you meant it for evIl, but God meant it for good, that many people should be kept alive.This mirculous redemption of family dysfunction is our hope and prayer....for our own families and for those dear ones like Tanya who are waiting and hoping and praying for someone to remember them.
3) Remember to Listen to God's Words and Accept ThemWe see in the parable of the sower (Mark 4), that we are encouraged to remember/listen to God's words (the person whose seed is planted in deep soil) and that these should fill our memory! In contrast, we do well NOT to remember/focus on tribulation or persecution or cares of the world, or riches, or the desire for other things, like those for whom the seed falls on rocky ground or among the thorns.
As we hear many conversations among our teen and young adult kids, and in our myriad social spheres, we realize that our memories and stories will help drive and shape theirs. So we will speak of the kind of things that God values we remember, as He opened to me this week:
- His mercy and love for me and my own and for kids and adults still waiting for someone to love them, and we look at others, really seeing them, sensitive to chances our Lord gives us to love them.
- His power to redeem even the most hopeless of circumstances. Those of you who know us, know we have had many!
- His intimate friendship in inviting us to let God's words fill our memories and shape all aspects of our lives -- so that we will naturally find Jesus' life and love multiplied in us, contagious, spreading to scores of others in our spheres of influence.
For you, dear reader, may you remember and speak to others of your stories of mercy and love and redemption and revelation. As we do, others are encouraged by the Lord's intent to enter and transform their stories!