“Well I remember when. . .” I used to think, “Oh no! Here we go again!” whenever my parents or grandparents would begin a sentence with those words. Now I didn’t realize at the time, but often they were doing more than just reminiscing about past events, they were also sharing the insights they had gained over the years; some “words of wisdom” for their kids and grandkids.
It says in Deuteronomy, chapter eight: “And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the that He might humble you. . .Take care lest you forget the LORD your God. . . .”
Now my parents and my grandparents didn’t want us kids to forget – or to not learn – some very important lessons for our lives and for our own good. Looking back, those exasperating words, “Well I remember when. . .” were spoken, many times, out of love for us kids.
In these words from Deuteronomy, a loving God is telling the people of Israel not to forget all that He has done for them. God lays out all the various things that He did over the past forty years of wandering. Ultimately, God wants the people to remember just how precious they are to Him.
Well the same is true for each one of us: a good and gracious God wants us to remember all that He’s done, and continues to do, for us and for our sakes. Our heavenly Father tells us, “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’” (Isaiah 41:13).
So why is it important for you and me to remember? Well because it’s so easy for us to get caught up in, and focused on, all that’s going on around us and everything that affects us, it becomes easy to forget – to lose sight of – God’s presence in our daily lives.
Most of us have heard the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” In other words, all the day-to-day things of our lives can cause us to focus on the here-and-now and not on what is to come: eternity. That which is temporary overshadows and can obscure that which is eternal.
And so, just how do you and I keep our focus where it should be all the while still living out our daily lives in this distracting world? The answer to this question is simple. It is not some great and profound mystery.
So then just what is the answer? We learned it in Sunday School. . .we studied it in confirmation class, and we hear the answer again and again at worship and as we study our Bibles: God’s Means of Grace – His Word and Sacraments!
We CAN’T do it on our own! It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work through these “means” that you and I can keep our focus on our Lord and Savior and so on the eternity that awaits us all when this life comes to an end for you and for me.
So – in the middle of our busy lives. . .in the midst of the “trees” let us always take the time… make the time for worship, for the receiving of the Lord’s Supper, and to be in God’s life-giving Word.
Rev. Craig Palach, Vacancy Pastor