“Remind me to do that,” my husband requests.
“No problem!” is my standard reply. “I've got an app for that.” And then I add his request to the multi-page list, grateful that my phone's memory is so much better than mine. We use that app for everything in our lives these days, from telling us where we need to go and when, to what to bring, to even what we wanted to say to each other along the way!
If my phone is my memory in the physical realm, it's the Holy Spirit's job in the spiritual world to bring back to my remembrance all the things I tend to forget. Some items on the list are indeed things God wants me to do, places He wants me to go, and words He wants me to speak. But mostly the Holy Spirit's job is to remind me of what God has already done. Psalm 103:2 tells us to “forget not all His benefits.” And then it lists just a few of them...forgiveness, healing, redemption, compassion, provision, justice...in a list even longer than the one on my phone.
The list of what God has done for mankind as a whole is enough to inspire an outpouring of praise. But it's the things He's done for me personally that pull at my heart and draw me into a closer embrace with my Creator. Answers to prayers that only His ears have heard, desires of my heart still unspoken yet granted, jokes we've shared, and experiences we've been through together...these are the moments that make up a loving relationship with God. And yet it seems that they are unintentionally dismissed from our memory almost as quickly as they happen. We need that Holy Spirit nudge to suddenly see God's face turned our way, His eyes meeting ours as He says, “I remember the conversation we had about that – do you?”
We tend to forget that there is another Kingdom in operation in our lives. So much of God's goodness and His many answers to our prayers – the evidence of His care - we attribute to mere coincidence, and in doing so we lose more than just an opportunity to give God the glory and praise He deserves. We steal from that moment its power to transform our lives with the acute awareness of God's love.
Recently I saw a video of two little kids who apparently had long begged their parents for a dog. One day as they worked together on their homework at the kitchen table, their father walked through the room, setting a box down on the floor beside the table in passing. The kids continued talking and working without noticing that a puppy was peeking up at them over the edge of the box. Suddenly the little girl caught a glimpse of it. She froze and stared at the dog for the longest time as she tried to process what she was seeing. Then she turned to her father and said, “Is that for us? You bought us a dog? It's really for us?” Surprisingly, she then covered her face with her hands and broke out in tears. She didn't initially go near the dog, instead she simply stood there crying, repeatedly lifting her face from her hands to choke out the words, “Thank you! Thank you so much!” Even when she was seated on the floor with her brother, the puppy between them, as she reached out to touch it for the first time, she stopped and was overwhelmed again, her heart and eyes overflowing with grateful tears. Clearly the moment wasn't about a puppy at that point; she was simply overwhelmed by her father's love.
I want to be that girl. And so I look to the Holy Spirit for help in transforming me from my thoughtless and greedy self into the thankful and grateful girl I long to be. “Remind me!,” I plead, and He does so, over and over again through the course of the day, that God is thinking about me, loving me, and blessing me in more ways than I ever thought possible.
The girl in the video had yet to even pet the answer to her prayers when her dad came over and enveloped her in a loving hug, so touched was he by her response to his gift. Maybe God has the Holy Spirit connect the gifts He gives us with our past conversations, not so much because that remembrance brings us joy...but because of the joy those connections bring to Him.
“But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them...”
(John 16:4 NKJV)