The Gift of Memory
Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
There was great sorrow over Judah’s judgment because of the sin of rebellion and this caused Jeremiah to consider the grace, mercy, and compassion of God. As bleak as the situation of judgment had become, God was faithful in His lovingkindness toward Judah and according to His matchless character kept all His promises to them––––they would not be destroyed forever. Malachi 3:6 ~ For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (The book of Lamentations teaches all believers how to deal with the memories of suffering and hardship.)
Memory can sometimes be the servant of hopelessness when we are faced with things beyond our control. The mind thinks of despairing and dark predicaments of the past, present and unknown future. Sometimes memory stands like a cloud over us raining down it’s unwanted thoughts and at times we are unable to, “cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” ( 2 Corinthians 10:5). Memory brought Jeremiah to despair thinking of the people of Israel and their perpetual sin without repentance. Jeremiah 19:15 ~ Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.
The same memory that brought Jeremiah to despair brought him life and comfort again when he, in turning to the Truth of God and bowing before the throne of grace, was restored unto joy remembering where he found true hope. The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; for they are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23.) There is no need for one to live in a state of despair, for truth will transform memory into an angel of comfort. The memory that may have brought so many dark and gloomy things into a believer’s life can be trained to carry a wealth of hopeful thoughts and replace them with joy.
“In John Bunyons’s allegorical book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, when Christian was locked up in Doubting Castle, memory was the club the famous giant would beat his captives with so terribly. They remembered how they had left the right road, how they had been warned not to do so, and how in rebellion, they had wandered into By-path Meadow. They remembered all their past misdeeds, their sins, their evil thoughts and evil words, and all these were like knots of wood in the club, causing sorrowful bruises and wounds in their poor suffering bodies.
However, one night, the same memory that had whipped them, helped to set them free, for it whispered something in Christians’s ear. He then cried out, ‘What a fool I am to lie in a stinking dungeon when I can walk in freedom! I have a key in my inside coat pocket, called Promise. It will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.’ So he put his hand into his coat pocket and, with much joy, he pulled out the key and thrust it into the lock and the key did open it and all the others, too. By this blessed act of memory, poor Christian and Hopeful were set free.”
Consider where we would be without Christ and how despairing our afflictions would be without His mercies that fail not. Something better truly awaits us, for Jeremiah reminds us that there are some mercies that continue, they are new every morning. Remember the pit from whence we came and thank God continuously–––singing of His compassions which delight the soul day after day. When our mind is fixed on the gospel of Christ and not on the memories stained with sin, we can with great assurance exult the blessings of the gospel while standing before God in freedom, pronounced righteous with no condemnation, having absolute peace with God.
Thought: The gift of memory can keep your hearts from complaining when the circumstances of life are not at all comfortable. When you have lost much but you have not lost your God remember, your God becomes your all in all. If you have lost everything because of sin or situations beyond your control but you have not lost your God, then you still have all, because Christ is your ALL in all. Your sufficiency is from God in knowing He is enough and His gift of memory gives hope to sustain you.
Quotes from “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyon and “Finding Peace in Life’s Storms” by Charles Spurgeon