One of the realities of my life is that I regularly need to be reminded of things that I already know. This is a reality my wife, kids, friends, co-workers, and even the cashier at the grocery store can testify to - I regularly need to be reminded of stuff I already know.
Unfortunately, this is also true in my walk with God. As I go through each day, it seems that God regularly has to remind me of things that I know about Him, and about how to live. And that's because sometimes I get so distracted by life and the immediacy of what's going on around me that I forget. So one of my daily prayers is, “Lord, help me not to forget what I should remember, and not to remember what I should forget.”
But I am encouraged that I am not alone in this struggle. In Luke 24, we read the story of two guys who had forgotten some really important things they should have remembered. At one time, both guys had been passionate followers of Jesus - but then they watched Him get crucified, and everything seemed to change. They were discouraged and feeling let down, so they decided to leave Jerusalem, and walk to the nearby town Emmaus. Here's the confusing thing about this story - Jesus had told them that He would be crucified and after three days, would rise again. Actually, He talked about it a lot, so they should not have been surprised by what happened. But they had forgotten - and the result was that their discouragement made them want to put as much distance between them and the cross as possible.
Then, as they were walking away, a strange thing happened - Jesus showed up. Listen to how it's described in Luke 24:13-15: “That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them, but they didn't recognize Him.”
Jesus showed up, but in their discouragement, they didn't even recognize Him. As I read that, my first thought is, “What a bunch of goofs! First they forgot what Jesus told them - then they didn’t even recognize Him when He showed up!”. But as soon as I thought that, God reminded me of the truth of what happens in my own life when I forgot what I should remember. All too often, I let the challenges of this life overwhelm me and keep me from seeing Jesus right next to me. And I forget to remember Him.
The truth is, we need to remember that every step we take away from the cross is a step in the wrong direction. And when we're overwhelmed by life, or when we're hurting, or when we've messed up spiritually, that's not the time to turn away from the cross. That's the time to run to it, and to remember Who Jesus is, and all that He's promised us.
I'm not sure all that's going on in your life today, but I'm willing to bet that some of you are feeling far from God - and some of you are struggling with difficult things - and some of you are just so caught up in the activity of life that you're feeling overwhelmed. Whatever is going on, here's what we all need to do today - we need to remember what we so easily forget. We need to remember that God has not forgotten us, and we need to remember His Word and the promises it holds for each of us. And with those truths in mind, we can confidently face whatever life has for us today, and every day.