A wise man once said, “The older I get, the better I was.” That man knew life. We don’t tell the grandkids about the time we stumbled over our own feet; we just tell them about when we knocked it out of the park.
The crazy thing is that we often think we remember things clearly but others don’t remember them happening the same way.
Just ask a husband and a wife to tell about something that happened thirty years ago. You’re likely to get a fight started.
“And there she was and her hair was blue!”
“No, no, it wasn’t blue. It was orange.”
“Orange? No, it was blue!”
After about five minutes of this, back and forth, a cold wave flows between the two adversaries (also known as the husband and his wife). They finally agree that that part wasn’t so important but secretly each one is thinking, “She’s (he’s) just forgotten. I remember how it was.”
Honestly, we’re not too much into memories these days, anyway. There are probably twenty times as many books telling how to accomplish our dreams of the future as there are books touting the value of memories.
Memories can trick us, sedate us, entice us to stay put instead of moving forward, and frustrate us. Heroes look more perfect from the distance created by time and make imperfect people and situations seem a lot better than they actually were.
Still, don’t downplay the importance of memories. They can provoke faith in our present situation.
Tim Sanders, in his book, “Today We Are Rich” quoted Carl Erskine, a baseball pitcher for the old Brooklyn Dodgers. “One sermon has helped me overcome pressure better than the advice of any coach. . . Its substance was that, like a squirrel hoarding chestnuts, we should store up our moments of happiness and triumph so that in a crisis we can draw upon these memories for help and inspiration.”
Sanders chimes in, “Every positive emotional moment should be recognized, saved in high-definition, and stored in your conscious mind for easy access.” (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc)
Nehemiah told a bunch of people who shook in their boots because of threats from their nasty neighbors,
“I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Neh. 4:14, Amplified version)
Remembering what God has done in the past for you and for others is a powerful stimulus to believe that He will help you today.
I remember what God did for me that day nearly forty years ago when I didn’t have any money and He supplied the need from someone who didn’t know there was a need. He will help me in whatever my needs are today.
I remembered how God helped us build a building in our second pastorate and that jolted me to believe that God could help us purchase a building later on when we worked in Luxembourg.
I remember how God had healed the pastor of my church and that encourages me to believe God for five of my friends who struggle with cancer today.
We don’t just remember the past nostalgically. That can just be an excuse to do nothing today or to idealize a situation which was actually a life and death struggle. We have a tendancy to forget the bad and exaggerate the good from the past.
But if we can get it right, we remember the past to remind us of how God has always acted for us. It encourages us to believe right now.
Only, there’s just no guarantee that your wife is going to remember the details exactly like you remember them. You might pray that God would help her remember it right—like you do.
Think About It—
It’s rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person.