How Soon We Forget

It probably comes as no surprise that leaving my home of eight years in Antrim, New Hampshire has, to varying degrees, been emotionally painful. As a whole my mind is busy on other things, but when it is allowed to slow down (for instance, early in the morning or late in the evening) a certain level of depression and regret can set in. I've also found that even reflecting on inconsequential items back home in that small town can bring those feelings to the forefront. For example, this afternoon at work, as I thought about walking across our springtime-wet dirt driveway to the mailbox across the street, the sadness set in because, for all intents and purposes, I will never do that again. That existence is gone.

However, as I was driving home tonight, I also recalled how a few times snuggling with Augie I thought to myself, "If everything in my life went terrible from now on, this would be enough." Perhaps you've had similar experiences? The day your beau went on bended knee and asked you to marry him? The moment that you held your newborn child for the first time? The occasion where you finally completely escaped work, e-mail, and cell phone and napped on that exotic beach?

The time which you couldn't have asked to be more perfect…?

Of course, when the loneliness of separation seems to flow through your whole body it is easy to overlook the junctures where you mentally promised that you needed nothing else. Memories are fickle…especially in the midst of trials. When we should most remember our blessings we often cannot see beyond that awful day, week, month, or year.

How soon we forget.

In that respect we are no different than our ancestors. One of the most memorable cases of similar behavior is recorded in Exodus. Before we reach chapter 32, the Israelis have seen themselves spared from plagues that tormented the Egyptians, the Red Sea parted so they could cross (with the sea collapsing as a watery grave on the army that pursued them), manna from heaven, water from a rock, the miraculous defeat of Amalek, and a very visible manifestation of God in thunders, lightnings, and a thick cloud at Mount Sinai…

Quite a bit of evidence that their Lord existed, was all powerful, and cared for them.

And then chapter 32 starts of with:

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him" (Exodus 32:1, English Standard Version).

What's even worse is that Aaron, Moses' brother and right-hand man (and number two in the nation) doesn't tell them they are crazy to ask…instead he collects a bunch of jewelry from them and fashions a golden calf for them to worship.

How soon they forgot.

Needless to say, the real God wasn't amused, and neither was Moses:

When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp." But he said, "It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear." And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses' anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it (Exodus 32:17-20).

I bet you it took at least a little while for them to forget that…

But, as the Old Testament shows over and over and over again, no matter how perfect the Israelites had it…

How soon they forgot.

When it comes to us Christians…we not only have past and present blessings to remember in times of trial, but we have the promise of an eternal future in bliss. And that assurance of everlasting happiness came the day that the Most High changed our hearts and we said, "If everything in my life went terrible from now on, You are enough." But, let's all be brutally honest to ourselves…

How soon we forget.

Every time we watch something on TV we shouldn't.

How soon we forget.

Every time we lash out at someone, "warranted" or not.

How soon we forget.

Every time we try to solve something ourselves instead of handing it to the Lord.

How soon we forget.

Whatever the form of sin or distrust we choose…

How soon we forget.

I can assure you that anyone who has had Augie snuggles understands just how close to heaven those are, but something as simple as stopping at yet another one of California's innumerable demonically-timed stoplights can make me forget those cuddles. I am embarrassed to admit that.

However, whether you and I fail to recall the myriad temporal blessings our Lord has given us, let's remember that, as undeserving as we were, our Creator reached His hand down from above and we individually grasped it with a commitment that no matter what happened to us from that point forward, He was enough. And that is something…

We must not forget.

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Alan is an ordinary guy, living in a small, high plains Colorado town...and humbled to be a minister of God...

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