A “to do” list. Phone alerts. Emails when a bill is due. Push notifications.
We need constant reminders, don’t we? I know I do. Otherwise, I forget all too easily.
Unfortunately, forgetting is a more pervasive problem for me than just with my everyday tasks. It happens with bigger things, too. I forget the good that has happened in my life. I need reminders.
It’s why I journal. It’s why I keep lots of family photographs displayed. It’s why I wear this bracelet.
This need for reminders is why God had His people in the Old Testament create memorials, usually with stones.
“Then Joshua called the twelve men he had chosen, and he told them, “Go into the Jordan ahead of the Covenant Box of the Lord your God. Each one of you take a stone on your shoulder, one for each of the tribes of Israel. These stones will remind the people of what the Lord has done. In the future, when your children ask what these stones mean to you, you will tell them that the water of the Jordan stopped flowing when the Lord’s Covenant Box crossed the river. These stones will always remind the people of Israel of what happened here.” (Joshua 4:4-7)
Our Tendency to Forget
This human tendency to forget is also why so many writers and prophets in the Old Testament repeated “remember” and “do not forget” so much. It’s why God’s people needed – it’s why we need – to be reminded over and over again of who God is, what he’s done, and what he promises to do.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
Don’t berate yourself for forgetting so easily. I have to remind myself of this often, too. Instead, accept that forgetting easily is a reality of human life, then circumvent it as much as you can with memorials. Purposefully find ways to focus on God, not your feelings or the drama of the day. Remember his mercy and grace and make a habit of looking for them and expecting them to happen again and again.