“It is central in the biblical tradition that God’s love for his people should not be forgotten. It should remain with us in the present. When everything is dark, when we are surrounded by despairing voices, when we do not see any exits, then we can find salvation in a remembered love, a love that is not simply a wistful recollection of a bygone past but a living force that sustains us in the present. Through memory, love transcends the limits of time and offers hope at any moment of our lives.” Henri Nouwen
I read this short devotional this morning and it made me think of three things in particular.
“It is central that God’s love for his people should not be forgotten.”
I immediately thought of Hebrews 10:23. I claimed that verse (or maybe it claimed me 🙂 ) years ago as my life verse. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess because he who promised is faithful.”
My favorite word in that verse is “unswervingly” I think if you are holding onto something with a grip that firm, then you are less likely to forget it. I need to remember that, because there was a time in my life when I forgot…which caused some reckless swerving around before I eventually crashed.
“When everything is dark, when we are surrounded by despairing voices, when we do not see any exits…”
This took me back to a season of sweet surrender. I was sitting on my back porch and reading Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians and the truth of this promise swept over my heart. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)
At that moment, it was like God was making me a promise, that I could hold onto for the journey: There is always a way out. I am the way out. Trust Me. The journey was far from easy, but He was true to His Word. That exit did exist.
“Through memory, love transcends the limits of time and offers hope at any moment of our lives.”
Memories have become so precious to me and maybe Nouwen’s quote explains why. In many ways, they are the catalyst for love to transcend the limits of time. I think grief and the loss of loved ones in our life teach us to understand more fully how beautiful this transcendence of time really is. At any given moment, we can remember that love again. At any given time, that love is reaching out again and again. At any given time, hope is being offered. Grab hold and never let go.
That last thought made me think of a verse from an old song by Regina Spekter, The Call. The song was made popular because it was featured in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian movie. I went back and listened to it again this morning. I’ve always loved the following verses. I think of how so often hope is not something we can see yet our memories some how help to make that which is hidden visible again.
“Now we’re back to the beginning
It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can’t feel it too
Doesn’t mean that you have to forget
Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
‘Til they’re before your eyes
You’ll come back
When they call you
No need to say goodbye”
“But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs.” Aslan, The Silver Chair