We had painstakingly packed away our wedding album when we moved about a year ago. As we were unpacking, I remembered telling my husband, Howard, "We need to put this in a safe place, so it will not get lost." Then I carefully put the album in a special place in our new apartment where it would be easy to find. But now, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not remember where that place was!
"Do you remember where I put our wedding album?" I asked my husband.
"No, honey, I'm sorry but you never told me where you put it," he replied.
We attempted to retrace my steps, but to no avail. Then we searched every nook and cranny, every possible hiding place, but we still could not find it. I could not bear the thought that it was lost forever, so we prayed. Then my husband checked the closet one more time--and there it was! Why had we not seen it earlier when we looked?
The consequences of my forgetfulness may be annoying or upsetting, but what if God had my imperfect memory? What if He forgot to paint the sunrise or to keep the earth spinning on its axis? What if He did not remember the correct temperature for the sun or the safe orbit for our planet? What if He simply misplaced us? After all, He has the whole universe to look after. What if He temporarily forgot about us and our little planet?
The consequences of His forgetfulness would be catastrophic, resulting in the extinction of all life. But fortunately for us, His memory banks never overload and He never overlooks the most minute detail of our lives. We find it impossible to conceive of a being who never forgets anything and who has been and always will be aware of every atom in the universe. He even keeps track of things that some people would consider trivial--like the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30).
He told the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" (Isaiah 49:15, NIV). We often think of God as a judge, or as a father figure, but in this passage He compares himself to a devoted, compassionate mother. What prompts Him to pay such close attention to our lives? The only logical explanation is His great love for us. He attentively watches over us every moment.
Although in moments of confusion or difficulty we may feel that He is indifferent and distant, in reality He is never far from any of us. Paul told the people of Athens, "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Regardless of our circumstances He is always aware of our needs and every detail of our particular situation. But He will never force His way into our lives. We must invite Him into our situation and into our hearts and then be willing to let Him work in our lives in the way that He knows is best.
© by Nancy A. Stevens.