Humans are forgetful. We forget all the time. We constantly repeat ourselves, forgetting we’ve said that before, we’ve done that before, we’ve been hurt like this before; history is proof of that. We neglect the lessons we’ve learned, mostly unintentionally. Mostly. Sometimes it’s strictly because forgetting that we belong to another kingdom makes it easy to live by our own rules.
I’ve read a novel and a half this week and a common theme throughout them both is forgetfulness.
In the first, The Calling by Rachelle Dekker (don’t worry, no spoilers!), protagonist Carrington Hale learns a truth about herself that brings her peace, understanding, and allows her to face incredibly dark things in her journey. Though she knows this truth to be indeed true, Carrington struggles with remembering it. At every dark corner, every threat, she forgets, even if it’s just for a moment, and battles with remembering which is the truth. The process of remembering is agonizing because she can’t simply flip a switch and remember. No, she has to forget the lies she has learned and re-remember the truth, which is a process of repeating the truth over and over to herself until it sticks. And even when she finally does remember, she has to consciously hold on to the truth, because the lies are always crouching at the door of her mind, ready to pounce at the slightest waver in faith.
In the second, A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker (it’s the sequel to A.D. 30, so there are a few spoilers!), Maviah spends two years walking in the light of another realm, the kingdom of Heaven. Her eyes were opened and her life saved through the power of Yeshua, and she spends the next two years of her life telling others about Yeshua, His teachings, and the peace found in opening your eyes to the kingdom of Heaven rather than living by the kingdoms of earth. Two whole years of experiencing the kingdom of Heaven, of being so convinced of its truth that she gathers thousands of people across the desert and tells them of Yeshua’s love and power. But within a terrible moment, fear and anger quickly take the forefront of her mind, and she forgets. She forgets everything Yeshua taught her, all the peace He gave her, all the love He showed her. She forgets all of it in a single instant, and though she knows she’s forgotten, she doesn’t know how to even begin remembering.
I’m reminded of the Israelites in Exodus, where it took them literally seven days to forget what God did for them in Egypt. Seven freaking days. How embarrassing; not to mention all the other times the Israelites forgot about the Lord’s constant deliverance by questioning His grace, forgiveness, and sovereignty.
Then I’m reminded of my own embarrassing inability to remember. I can forget within minutes what the Lord has already done for me, especially when my mind is clouded so quickly by fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, or distrust. When I allow darkness to take over, I forget that the Lord is indeed on the throne, and the very concept of light becomes ludicrous to me. It’s so easy to forget and so very hard to remember once you’ve forgotten.
How do we forget so easily? I’m not sure I have an answer but in Ted Dekker’s book, one of my favorite characters, Saba, gives part of an answer when Maviah asks him this very question:
Saba tried to comfort me with soothing words, uttering not a single suggestion that I should change my outlook or be stronger. Only once did he speak of Yeshua’s teachings.
‘When we are blind,’ he said that night as we were seated by the fire, ‘there is no sight of the light. And so we are in darkness. But this doesn’t mean that the realm of Yeshua’s eternal light has ceased to exist. Only that we cannot see it. We have been blinded by our own grievance.’
I knew his words were true.
‘Why, Saba?’ I asked, staring into the flames through my tears. ‘Why do we go blind, having once seen? True sight now seems like an illusion.’
‘Perhaps we have lived too long attached to this world.’
I agree with Saba. I think I have lived too long attached to this world, to the false security and wealth it promises, to the amusement and perfection it demands. So I am forgetful and silly, constantly bumping into the same old roadblocks simply because I’ve forgotten that Someone else has already overcome them. In the next few pages of Dekker’s book, the characters agree that since they’ve forgotten the way of Yeshua, the only way to remember is to find Him once again.
The only way to remember is to turn back to the Lord. To ask for a reminder. To search His Word for that reminder. To actively tell yourself daily that you are in need of a Savior, of a reminder of what you once were and of what He has done once and for all.
It’s a constant battle between darkness and light, coupled with our inability to choose correctly without the Lord guiding us. Only then can we stay focused, stay hungry, and stay close to Him.
My consolation in all of this: the Lord never tires of reminding me who I am.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”
“I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.”
‘I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.”