Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Need to remember

Three years ago this month, my husband received
a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Two years ago this month, the doctor told him his prognosis
was terminal.

For me, January will always be associated with these events.

For better or for worse, our need to remember is deeply rooted in our nature. But the act of remembrance can lead to one of two outcomes: gratitude or bitterness.

The God who created us knows our deepest needs, including our need to remember. But because He knows us so intimately, He knows we have to be intentional about remembering the right things for the right reasons. So all through the Bible, we see passages that speak about remembering His blessings. Consider these verses from the ESV translation:

  • Deuteronomy 8:2 – “You shall remember the whole way the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness.”
  • Psalm 77:11 – “I will remember the deeds of the Lord.”
  • Psalm 103:2 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
  • Psalm 119:55 – “I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.”
  • Ecclesiastes 12:1 – “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.”
  • Isaiah 46:9 – “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other.”
  • I Corinthians 11:24 – “When he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Such reminders help us combat the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” syndrome.

Regardless of whether a person is good or evil, a follower of Jesus Christ or not, God allows His sun to rise on all people, and sends rain for the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). We all delight in the beauty of the natural world: rainbows, butterflies, sunrises, and sunsets. We enjoy relationships with family and friends, and have the convenience of material comforts.

Those who are Christians have the added benefit of knowing the pleasures of this world are merely shadows of eternal life. This world is not as good as it gets—there’s a better one coming. And Christians have the added resource of the Holy Spirit to encourage us, prompt our recollections, and comfort us.

Still, if we’re not careful, even Christians can fall into the trap of forgetting God’s past blessings in light of current suffering. We can develop a bad habit of rehearsing negative events and emotions instead of focusing on God’s goodness. And we can become stuck in dwelling on who and what we’ve lost instead of who and what we still have.

It’s not easy, but followers of Christ have a choice. Wallow in self-pity or move forward by trusting God’s faithfulness for what’s to come.

Which will you choose?

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14 Comments

  1. Lesley

    Good word Ava! I needed this today!!

  2. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Lesley. I needed it, too!

  3. Dave

    Oh yes!
    Too true of me.
    Thank you, Ava.

  4. Ava Pennington

    Me, too, Dave!

  5. Jessica Brodie

    It’s so important to learn from the past and then focus on the future. Thanks for an excellent post, Ava!

  6. Julie

    Great words!

  7. Melissa Henderson

    Remember to trust God’s faithfulness. Amen 🙂

  8. S. A. Foster

    Great message and so true!

  9. Anne Mackie Morelli

    You make a great point about how we are faced with two choices – to be stuck in self-pity and bitterness or to look for God’s blessings and feel gratitude. When we are suffering it can be so easy to chose the bitterness and angry route, but remembering all of God’s protection and provision can help steady our hearts and encourage us to take the first step out of self-pity towards healing and gratitude.

  10. Nancy E. Head

    Remembering God’s goodness to us is crucial to our attitude. Will it be gratitude or bitterness? Great post! God bless!

  11. Barb

    Great word, Ava. Half the battle is intentionally taking time to think about what we are thinking about. So often we just proceed on auto-pilot. This was a good reminder to be alert and not let the busyness of life keep us from meditating on the goodness and will of God.

  12. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Barb. Yes, “auto-pilot” is not always a good place to be in our thought life!

  13. Candice Brown

    Remembering God’s faithfulness is crucial during dry seasons. Thanks for this much- needed message; it blessed me today and reminded me: I always have a choice.

  14. Gerry

    Thank you Ava, this is a beautiful and powerful message for all of us. Moving, encouraging, and inspirational. God will continue to bless you and your impact on lives.

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