When You Can’t See It, Remember It
In my book, "Torn," I talk about how important it is to remember God’s work in our lives in the past. When I go through difficult times, I often forget all he’s done. I focus on the challenges around me but forget all God did for me when the sun was shining on my face.
God wired us up to do this. He created our brain in a magnificent way to retain information and memories. Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, was asked these questions: “What is the memory capacity of the human brain? Is there a physical limit to the amount of information it can store?”
Dr. Reber replied, “The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive. Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.”
Our capacity is incredible. (But this does make me wonder why I’m always forgetting where I put my car keys!)
We’re called to flex our amazing mental potential and remember that God has not abandoned us in the past, and he has promised he will never do so in the future. In the Bible, we read how God told the Israelites again and again to remember what he had done for them. They were to remember how he brought them out of Egypt and defeated the Egyptians seeking to enslave them. They were to remember God’s gracious dealings with them in the wilderness, his provision for survival, for victory, for justice, for worship, and for relational intimacy with him and each other. They were to recall the agreeement he made with his people through Abraham. God urged his people to remember all these things so that they would have ready historical reference to his faithfulness in their times of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
The past provides a concrete expression of God’s unchanging love for us to hold on to. We can always look back and remember how God brought us from our own personal captivity into his rest. We recall God’s past answers to our prayers and find assurance that the invisible reality in which we place our hope and trust has been revealed in our lives.
Think about when God was faithful to you. When you felt close to him, full of love and full of joy. Remember when you felt like he was blessing your socks off. Remember God’s faithfulness, especially if you feel torn.
The truth is that God is always nearby, that God is always blessing you, that God is never not being faithful to you. When you can’t see it in front of you, remember it.