December 7th is a day that America remembers. It was on this day in 1941 that the Pacific fleet was attacked in Pearl Harbor, thrusting our country into World War 2 at the cost of a half million US lives. But we’re not the only ones who remember.
There’s a little story tucked away in the beginning of Luke’s gospel that is rich in remembering. A messenger appears to Zechariah and informs him that he and his elderly wife are finally going to have a baby. This baby will be named John, and he will “be a joy and delight to you.”
This announcement is drenched in God’s remembering. For starters, compare the message to Zechariah and a message centuries earlier to Abraham:
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. (Luke 1:13)
Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. (Genesis 17:19)
The message to Abraham was the beginning of God’s actions to bless the world through Abraham’s descendants. That promise is remembered in front of Zechariah.
Then there’s the statement that John would go on in “the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children.” (Luke 1:17) God’s last prophet in the Old Testament was Malachi. And the last words that Malachi records are:
See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents;
God was remembering his promises through the prophets. And John was going to continue the tradition of the prophets and prepare the way for the Messiah.
Oh, and did I mention the guy who got this message from the angel, his name (Zechariah) means, “God remembers.”
Coincidence? I don’t think so. God remembers. He remembers every promise he ever made to you.
P.S. Speaking of remembering, if you got a copy of the Advent devotional last Sunday, remember to check it out each day for a quick section to read and something to think about. And then remember there are family experiences and projects to choose from if you’re doing this as a family or small group. If you missed last Sunday, be sure to pick up your copy this Sunday, or you can get a PDF version online by clicking here.
- There was the story of a high school student who discovered faith and life in Christ while facing her own struggles.
- There was the story of a mom sharing her faith with a friend struggling with addiction, and helping this friend become a follower of Jesus.
- There was the story of a special needs child being drawn into worship in powerful ways.
- There was the story of isolated, disconnected people finding genuine community in a diverse church family.
The stories could have gone on all night. Here’s why they matter.
Because we’re all afflicted with amnesia.
We can forget faster than the weather can change. And when we start forgetting God’s faithful work in and through us, we start to lose our faith. I don’t mean we stop believing that there is a God. I mean we stop believing that God is able to provide what is needed as we follow his plan for our life.
- We forget that God can provide the resources for a bold step of faith.
- We forget that God can provide the strength for a long and arduous task.
- We forget that God can provide the courage for a scary act of obedience.
- We forget that God can provide the encouragement during times of darkness.
- And we forget that God can lead others to a life of faith in Jesus through our words and actions.
I’m reminded of a scene in King David’s life, long before he was the king. He was itching to fight Goliath and recapture the honor that rightfully belonged to God. When King Saul asked him why he, a mere teenage boy, thought he could take on the might Goliath, Dave remembered. He remembered how God had delivered him from every situation that had already occurred. He was ready and willing to on the giant Goliath based solely on the faithfulness of God in his past. Listen to how he says it:
The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” 1 Samuel 17:37
When we remember, then it’s easy to get up and walk out God’s calling for our lives. So my encouragement to you is to take a few minutes today to remember God’s faithfulness to you. And then, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
In just three days our country will remember the unforgettable tragedy of 9/11. It is forever burned into our minds. What do you remember about that day?
- I remember standing in a crowded church office at our Ministry Center on Wisteria Drive, watching a little blurry TV image of the towers coming down.
- I remember the fear that was heavy in the air.
- I remember struggling to understand our world in the days that followed.
- I remember wondering what kind of world my little girls would grow up in.
- I remember standing on the corner of our neighborhood with strangers-who-suddenly-became-friends holding candles and cheering as cars drove by with flags flying.
- I remember gathering to pray for our nation, our leaders, and the families of those who lost their lives on that day.
- I remember LOTS of people coming to church the next Sunday, searching for hope.
I’d appreciate knowing what you remember most. It will help me prepare for this Sunday’s message. Please share your memories in the reply/comment box below.