Awakening to a new day with routine or unfamiliar responsibilities may fill our minds with anticipation or anxiety. Consider the new outfit you purchased and the style of your hair that brought enjoyment as you groomed yourself around 7 am. By noon, your focus has been redirected, and you may not even remember how you looked hours before. Forward to 5 pm, and you do not care about the hairstyle, nor are you excited about the outfit that made you smile that morning.
With piqued interest, I researched why we are forgetful. The Columbia University Department of Psychiatry tells us, “…findings point to an active mechanism within our brain that helps us clear out unnecessary pieces of information so that we can retain the most relevant for long-term storage.” https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/news/why-forgetting-good-your-memory
Although this study concluded that our brain is highly complex, retaining the most relevant and automatically and systematically clearing out “unnecessary information,” this does not apply to the spiritual realm.
Elijah, a great prophet, called for a showdown on Mt. Carmel between himself [representing the one and only God] and the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). God showed his Omnipotence by burning up the animal, the altar, and the water in the trench. And God instructed him to kill the 450 pagan priests. King Ahab told his wife, Jezebel, of the death of the priests to which she responded, “Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.'” (1 Kings 19:2).
Elijah’s response to the message, “And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life…(1 Kings 19:3, first part). Wait! How is it possible that the prophet who prayed for no rain [1 Kings 17] and just witnessed the mighty act of God on Mount Carmel instantly reacted with fear as if there was no God?
The Forgetfulness of Humanity
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (James 1:23-24).
God knows that we will forget the most relevant [God and His blessings] and remember the unnecessary information when faced with hardships and sorrows. Our emotions take over, and we slip into spiritual disorientation. Fear, anxiety, worry, and discouragement consume us, making us quickly forget the power of the God in whom we serve.
Even so, our merciful Heavenly Father is aware of our cognitive limitations. Throughout the Bible, God tells us to “Remember.”
- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
- I will [solemnly] remember the deeds of the LORD; Yes, I will [wholeheartedly] remember Your wonders of old. (Psalm 77:11, Amplified Bible)
- Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. (Isaiah 46:9 NIV).
We are the 21st Century Elijahs. What can we do to prevent the darkness of fear and the storm clouds of dread that overwhelm us when faced with adversity?
- We praise God morning, noon, and night:Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits… (Psalm 103:1-2).
- We express our gratitude to God by naming our blessings everyday:In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- Daily we pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit:But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26).
Making God the most relevant in our lives requires concerted effort. Serving God always necessitates consistent action, or lest we forget Him who created the heavens and the earth, gives us our daily breath of life, and blesses us by consistently opening the windows of heaven.
Prayer: God, we thank you and praise your Holy name for the love and provisions you sustain us with. We ask forgiveness for not making you relevant. We confess that we have not put you first and foremost in our lives. Jesus, we need your strength to continue our journey through life. Thank you, God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.