What God remembers – and what He forgets

By Greg Laurie

It would be hard to forget that we’re celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend, because marketers go the extra mile to make sure that we’re aware of it. I don’t say that critically, however, because if any group deserves their own day, it’s mothers. And it’s important to honor them and remember them on Mother’s Day.

When you think about it, the memory is an amazing thing. It moves faster than the speed of light. Through the memory we can be instantly transported to the past, even the distant past. There are interesting things that will trigger a memory, like a song on the radio. Scents, like certain food, can spark memories too. And of course, photographs bring back memories.

Scientists tell us that we have an astounding capacity to remember and that we never really forget anything. It’s all stored somewhere in the memory banks of our minds.

And while some memories can remain so vivid and clear, others can become quite fuzzy and distant. I’ve found there are memories that have grown somewhat dormant, and I need to have them rekindled and refreshed.

Peter, in his second New Testament epistle, reminds us of some of the basics of the Christian life. He tells us that we need to have faith. We need to be godly. And we also need to love others and be longsuffering.

He wrote, “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things – even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.” (2 Peter 1:12–13 NLT)

In other words, “I know you know these things, but I think I need to refresh your memory. I need to jog your memory.”

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If you’re like me, sometimes you’ll think of something and tell yourself to make a mental note of it. We need little reminders so we don’t forget something important.

In the same way, God has given us what we call Communion as a reminder of what he has done for us. It’s something to jog our memory. We should remember Jesus because he has never forgotten us. Though we may have forgotten God at times, he never forgets us.

The psalmist David wrote, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalm 139:17–18 NLT)

Can you imagine that? If you’ve ever gone to the beach, think about how much sand you brought home with you, most of it unintentionally. It was in your beach chair, your towel, and your hair. And that was just a little of what is back there at the beach, which is one of many beaches in the world.

David was saying that God’s thoughts toward him outnumbered the grains of the sand. And that’s how much God thinks about you and me.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is from Jeremiah 29: ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'” (verse 11 NLT).

I would be happy if God had said, “I know the one thought that I thought about you.” But in this verse, God is speaking of both the present and future. He’s saying, “I am thinking about you. And I will continue to think about you in the days ahead.”

We need to remember that we have a Heavenly Father who is always watching us. Pastor C.H. Spurgeon said, “It will become a cause of joy to reflect that our best friend is never away from us – that our protector’s hand is never removed, that the great observant eyes of divine love are never closed.”

Here’s a litmus test of your life before God: How does the idea that God is thinking about and watching you affect you? Does it bring joy to your heart? Or, does it instead bring some kind of dread or fear? If the latter is the case, then something is not right in your life.

If you are a true follower of Jesus and have any understanding of how much he loves you, then it should bring you great joy to know that God is thinking about you and has never forgotten about you.

Though God has never forgotten us, it is important to note that if we have put our faith in Jesus Christ, he has forgotten our sins. God said, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV).

That, of course, is contingent on whether we have repented of our sins. If you’re trying to cover your sins, if you’re trying to hide them, know this: They always will come out. That which is hidden now will be openly proclaimed one day. And that day may come sooner than you think.

On the other hand, if you’ve repented of your sins, turned from them, and asked God to forgive you, then he has said, “Your sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” We should not choose to remember what God has chosen to forget.

Yes, there is a place for sorrow and sadness over our sins. But there is also a place for rejoicing and joy as we think about what Jesus has done for us.

Maybe you don’t have a personal relationship with God. Maybe there hasn’t been a time in your life when you’ve asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord. If you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life, then you can do it today.

You need to know that he loved you so much that he died on the cross and was raised from the dead three days later. He is alive and ready to come into your life and forgive you of every sin you’ve ever committed.

If God has forgotten our sins, then we need to forget them too. But we should never forget him.

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