You are not forgotten
All of us forget things we shouldn’t. Sometimes our forgetfulness matters, often it doesn’t. But when we forget that appointment, name or birthday it can unintentionally make others feel as if they don’t matter to us.
Many of us know this because we’ve been forgotten or, in extreme cases, even abandoned. Some move on quickly and confidently from being forgotten. Others struggle with identity issues, loneliness, bitterness, and feelings of insignificance. The impact of being forgotten can be crippling, especially if it is consistent.
But the thought of a forgetful God can send a five-star campus ministry general into depression and burnout fast. Regardless of experience, memorized Scripture, books read, or success in ministry, this thought can sweep the legs out from under anyone.
While ministering on the university campus in Thailand for ten years, I was presented with many opportunities to feel like the Lord had forgotten me, my family, my team, and the beautiful people of Thailand. I knew this was not true, but my emotions won the fight many times, leaving me down and out.
One especially trying season forced me to get professional christian counseling back in the states. The cultural and language differences seemed like an insurmountable wall that grew ten feet taller for every three feet I climbed. Combined with with the seemingly impossible task of reaching Thai college students, often alone, caused me to feel lonely, insignificant, forgotten, and distant from the Lord and others.
Campus ministry on the global campus can make students and staff feel the same way; forgotten by the Lord even as we strive to live for Him and spread His Name.
But the Lord does not and cannot forget us. He does not want to forget us.
If you have been a Christian for more than a year you’ve probably wondered if God has forgotten you at least once. Perhaps during a suffering, the death of a loved one, dating, a career shift or hunt, or seemingly unfruitful seasons of ministry. Take heart, the Lord has not forgotten you. Why can I be so sure?
The following truths comforted me and propelled me back onto the campus day after day, fight after fight, plate of rice after plate of rice. God showed me much of this during times when I was tempted to think my quite time was only with a book, paper and pen on the hot porch of a Thai coffee shop, rather than time with the God of the universe through His Word.
The Lord cannot forget you:
The only thing that God forgets is our sin (Psalms 103:12). And even then He is not causing our sins to slip out of his omniscient mind. When God remembers our sin no more, He does not count our sins against us anymore. He can do this because He counted our sins against Jesus and He will eternally remember what Jesus did for us. In this, He remembers us eternally through the eternal blood of His Son.
- God cannot forget us because He knows all. God cannot “un”remember you (Isaiah 40:28, 1 John 3:20). Our God never experiences Alzheimer’s, wandering around the streets of gold trying to figure out where He is, striking up interesting and confused conversations with the saints. No, the mind of the Lord is perfect. He didn’t forget Job before, during or after his trials, but answered him with a merciful monologue of His full knowledge and Sovereignty of all things.
- God cannot forget us because He has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8, Matthew 28:20). The Father never drives down the road, looks in the backseat, and stares as He realizes He left us at the gas station.
- God cannot forget us because we are sealed with God the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 14). Kings seal letters of authority, authenticity, honor, and ownership with their signet rings. God seals us with Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. God cannot forget Himself.
- God cannot forget us because Jesus has purchased us. We belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). It would be absurd to read a headline “Billionaire rents car, forgetting his Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini in the Garage.” We are way more valuable than these cars because the blood of Christ is infinitely greater and we are His children, not his stuff.
The Lord does not want to forget you:
- The Lord doesn’t want to forget us because He loves us (John 3:16). It would be easier for someone to forget to breathe than for God to forget to love His people. You think breathing is involuntary and a bad comparison? Well, although the Lord has freely chosen to love us (Ephesians 1:11), in doing so He is sovereignly and happily bound to do so from within Himself (Numbers 23:19). But make no mistake, His love is voluntary. Our “payments” could never turn His heart towards us. It was love He wanted to share, love that sent Christ, love that compelled Christ, love that received the wrath of God, love that rose from the dead, love that sets us free, and love that holds us forever. There is nothing that can separate us from this love. He loves loving us.
- The Lord doesn’t want to forget us because in doing so He would be counting the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit as trivial. The Lord does not want to forget us, but wants to provide marvelous riches through His Son. I cringe at the thought of being distant from my children or forgetting them when they need me most. We cringe when we put ourselves in our children’s shoes and imagine how they would feel or think if they looked around and found that we were long gone. The only cringing of this kind within the Trinity was on the cross where Christ bore our sin and shame and felt abandoned. That cringing is finished.
Let’s put forgetfulness in the right place. It’s our forgetfulness of our great Rememberer. Even in our proneness to wander and leave the God we love, He manifests His grace and mercy in our lives. (John 1:12)
The Lord cannot forget our neighbors.
- God reaches our neighbors and the nations through His people—through you and me. He has purchased people from every tongue, tribe, and nation (Revelation 5:9). He does not want to forget about them either…He cannot, He will not.
God will not abandon or forget you during the fruitful and dry seasons of ministry and life. He sings over you. You’re part of a song that is stuck in His head and He’ll never forget the lyrics nor the objects of His song (Zephaniah 3:17).