It’s Steve Kemp here bringing you this week’s Midweek Message. Having been away in Lincolnshire visiting family during the past week, Mandy and I have missed some of the church activities of the last seven days. The very busy weekend that we have just enjoyed embraced a Ladies Fellowship Brunch late on Saturday morning and a United Prayer Concert in Blackpool later the same day. This was followed on Sunday morning by lively Discovery Sunday discussion groups which contemplated our new identity as Children of God and then culminated in a fabulous hot Fellowship Lunch cooked and provided by Robert in celebration of his own birthday! Wow! What a feast!
Some are blessed with photographic memories; they look at something once and it is then forever emblazoned upon their little grey cells (as Hercule Poirot would say)! I am certainly NOT one of those select personalities! I am not sure that it is especially an “age thing” but my wife Mandy will testify readily to my more than occasional lapse of memory! In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that I have a most excellent “forgettery”! My memory skills (or lack of them) have been put much to the test lately, which has frequently resulted in my temporary displacement of vital personal belongings.
My fragile memory is still able to linger upon yesteryear from time to time; I often reflect with faint amusement upon my late father’s unwavering ability to misplace his housekeys, his spectacles and his wallet upon a regular basis. I also reflect upon my own regrettable impatience with this on-going erratic behaviour, expressing frequent bafflement with his seeming inability to keep track of his vital belongings. Now, decades later … I find myself doing the same! Ultimate humiliation! Although it grieves me to admit it, my spectacles, keys and walking stick seem to almost daily “go missing”. At least one walking stick must be hiding somewhere obscure along the promenade and another finding permanent refuge in Blackpool Zoo. Every time it happens, I feel anger with myself that I have fallen foul of the foundation basics of memory yet again!
The best part of two weeks ago, following a cell group meeting at church, my car passenger Robert observed a man drop his keys in the middle of the road just a few yards south of the church. I knocked on a few doors but was unable to locate the owner. As I was relating this occurrence of events to Mandy upon my arrival home, I suddenly (much to my chagrin) discovered I no longer had the church keys in my pocket, thus necessitating a return trip to find the same keys lying in the road not that far from where I discovered the first set! Physician, heal thyself!
Shortly before the two of us departed for our few days holiday last week, I realised that I had lost my glasses and … this time … I still have not recovered them! Argh!
Of course, I am in good company for it could be said that our God also has a good forgettery! For sure, God’s company is always good and desirable but his is a very different kind of memory lapse. We would be quite wrong to perceive him as absent-minded; his memory loss is not so much a lapse as a deliberate act! It tells us in Hebrews 8 v 12, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” It is a wilful act on his behalf; he truly does forgive and forget. He chooses to erase from his memory our sinful past; he simply refuses to remember it; and it is all gone, never to be mentioned further! There is nothing in your or my forgiven past that he has knowledge of. As soon as it is forgiven, it is forgotten. Let’s never presume upon his forgiving nature by wilfully sinning but let’s never beat ourselves up either about issues he no longer has any awareness of – yes, our enemy the devil will keep on reminding us because he cannot remind God (he just WILL NOT remember!) God has no knowledge of what he is referring to so let’s not keep harping on about it ourselves. What a great God!