There are numerous times during my week where I simply forget. Ask my wife and she will tell you I frequently forget where I put my truck keys. My boys will tell you that I often forget telling them they could stay up late on Friday and watch a movie (even as I confidently assert it is past their bedtime). And, when it comes to things around my house, there are chores and needs I inconveniently and sometimes conveniently forget to take care of. Let’s just say that in the age of technology in which we live, I am grateful to God for a calendar that syncs to my computer, cell phone, and other devices.
In the larger picture, however, this thought of forgetfulness is pressing on my mind in the moment because I have a bigger problem than simply forgetting where the keys to my Chevy are currently residing (don’t worry, they are by the front door). My problem with forgetfulness transcends truck keys, household needs, and work-related tasks (I actually forgot to write this letter, and I’m sitting here late on Friday getting it done). No, the larger concern that I’m currently pondering is my tendency forget the promises of God.
Is not this a stunning reality? We have a God who reigns over the cosmos, governing every fall of every sparrow (Matt 10:29) and managing each roll of dice (Prov 16:33). This transcendent and powerful God has condescended to draw near to a sinful and forgetful people. Amazingly, when he does, he makes gloriously gracious promises. And in our worst moments, we forget those promises. The people of Israel did this in ages past (e.g. Judges 8:34), and we forget, too. At least I do.
Forgetfulness shows up in my life when my anxiety rises to the level that I cannot sleep or have trouble focusing on a task. My forgetfulness is on display when I fail to exercise patience, practically forgetting God’s abounding patience with me. When I find it hard to love my sinful and mean-spirited neighbor, it is often because I have forgotten how God loved me even while I was dead in my sins (Rom 5:8; Eph 2:1). And, sometimes, I look around at my life and can feel pretty proud of what I have accomplished, forgetting that apart from God’s work in my life, I could accomplish nothing (John 15:5).
Perhaps most worrisome, however, are the times when I forget God and his gospel. That is, I sin in some way during a day and think to myself, “just try harder…do better.” Or, “how can I make up for this?” At times, because of my sin, I am tempted to fall into despair and beat myself up. Perhaps, for a moment, that’s what I do. What am I forgetting? I have forgotten the gospel. I have forgotten that no amount of trying harder will pay the debt. I forget that in Christ, there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1). I forget, on occasion, that Jesus has borne the stripes that make me whole (cf. Isaiah 53:5). What do I need in those moments of forgetfulness? I need the Spirit of God to quicken my head and heart and remind me of God’s promises. To blow away the dark clouds and lift my eyes to see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).
When the Spirit lifts my eyes, and I look once again towards the heavens, I behold, through glass dimly (1 Cor 13:12), the God who never forgets. He stands there, faithful and sure. He has promised the defeat of the seed of the serpent (Gen 3:15). He has promised to bless me and keep me. He has promised never to forsake me (cf. Deut 31:6; Heb 13:5). He has promised, and his promises are all yes and amen in Christ Jesus, my Lord (2 Cor 1:20).
So, as I sit here, pondering my forgetfulness, my heart is at rest because I have remembered and recounted (via these musings) the God who never forgets.
Jonathon D. Woodyard, MDiv ’16
Dean of Admissions
Assistant Professor of Theology & History
- Pray that the Lord would bring in funds sufficient to cover the costs of our current Alex Steddom Fund grantees and to invite a new student for fall 2022.
- Pray for the incoming students and their families as they begin to settle into Minneapolis and prepare for classes to start.
- Pray for the international students planning to come this fall as they work on visas.
- Pray for the leadership as they prepare to lead our annual staff and faculty retreat.
- Pray for the staff and faculty as they prepare for the school year to start again.