April 6, 2020

Lamentations 5:1

Remember, Lord, what has happened to us;

    look, and see our disgrace.


Our modern perspective on remembrance drastically changes the tone of this simple verse. For most of us, we need to be reminded of things we have forgotten. We set alarms on our phone for appointments, due dates, and even birthdays. We know these things are not always at the forefront of our mind, and risk passing by unnoticed. To attribute a similar mindset to God creates a dilemma. Are we not on God’s mind? Does he need to be reminded of our plight, lest it escapes his attention? Is our suffering a result of God’s forgetfulness?

The biblical concept of remembrance provides some insight. Look, for example, at the fourth commandment in Exodus. Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy. Or, look at how God remembered Noah in the ark in Genesis 8:1. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. In both of these cases (and in most other cases in the Bible) remembering is a call to action. You and I might remember that our friends or relatives are isolated in the midst of their life circumstance. That doesn’t always translate into a phone call or letter. We might remember that we have a deadline in three days, but that doesn’t always mean we get right to work. 

God’s remembering, however, seems inseparable from his action. So, when the author of Lamentations asks God to remember, he isn’t merely asking to be in God’s thoughts. He is instead asking God to take action. Today, if you are feeling alone, forgotten, or unsure, ask God to remember you. Try using that actual word “remember” while thinking of it is a request for God to intervene. Not only does it allow us to express the pain of feeling alone, but it also serves as a request for relief, comfort, and rescue.

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