It’s the kind of thing that I thought I was the only one…My friend was telling us about her doctor’s appointment today. She got to the building, only to discover that the doctor’s office had moved. Though she found it strange that she hadn’t been notified prior to the appointment, she got directions from the people now occupying the office space, and headed to the new place. Once she got there, she mentioned that she was late because she hadn’t known that the doctor’s office had moved- only to be informed that her appointment last year was actually in the new office! Yep, she had been there before, but just had no recollection of it whatsoever.
Having experienced a head injury that wiped an entire day off my calendar, I understand how unsettling it is to have no recollection of certain things. It isn’t even like a shadow of a memory that you just can’t recall the details of- it is as if you never experienced the thing to begin with. This is how my friend felt today- not that she couldn’t remember it, but that her mind had just completely erased this chapter, so that it is almost like she didn’t experience it at all.
We humans are definitely prone to forgetfulness, and spiritual forgetfulness is just as unsettling. Sometimes, when life gets a little weary and hard, I find myself asking the Lord for a tangible reminder that this isn’t all there is. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that eternity comes at us in the blink of an eye, and that every moment is preparation for the Kingdom that is to come.
Sometimes fear, frustration, impatience, worry- all these things that bind us so effectively here in this world- crowd out the joy and hopeful anticipation of the world to come. And it is the joy, the hope, that keeps me moving forward to accomplish all those acts of preparation for Heaven.
I imagine those folks who have to encounter me in the grocery store or at the gas station when my countenance displays impatience or frustration. I try to hear the sound of my negative words when I complain about petty things that have no eternal significance beyond being instruments by which I train myself to either respond with Christlikeness or me-likeness. All of these passing experiences are life moments where I leave a mark on this world- where I testify to either the goodness of God, or to the harshness of all that I can be in my utterly fallen form.
So, I ask the Lord for reminders so that I can keep straight ahead on the mission He has called me to- the mission of loving this world for Him, of witnessing through words, actions and attitudes, leaving His mark behind me, because He is the Savior Who calls everyone to come to salvation.
What do these reminders look like? Sometimes it is the whisper of the wind through the leaves, sometimes it is through a clap of thunder that shakes the house. Sometimes it is through a fresh start, and sometimes it is through an old memory. Sometimes it is in the sound of the laughter of a friend, or through the affections of a pet who loves you. Sometimes, I believe, He allows us to get just a glimpse of His garment as He passes closely by us, maybe brushing us with a touch of gossamer, so that we don’t even know what we’ve experienced until the moment is over.
These moments of lavish grace and impeccable mercy cut through the weariness that we feel and give us a second wind to keep going when it feels like life is over and we have nothing more to offer. They give us the strength to be kind and gracious in the face of difficult circumstances, and they keep us positive and loving when our flesh would lash out, cut someone down, or just be plain mean.
In reality, the brevity of this life will one day be made clear to us. The reminders we are actually asking for are not of our past, but of a glorious future that Christ has secured for us. Here, so much in our peripheral vision is all about us, but there, the glory of God will overtake us. I’m so thankful for those moments when He allows His glory to intersect these temporal lives of ours, making Himself real to us, giving us the briefest of glimpses of what He has in store for us. How I look forward to the time when this world, this life, is just a memory and Christ’s eternal kingdom is finally established. But until it is, may He continue to remind me of all that is to come.