Thanks for the Memories
by Alan Allegra
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If you’re anywhere near my age (which is nearly approaching the beginning of just seeing middle age afar off), you remember this as being Bob Hope’s theme song. There are a lot of songs about memories, many of which are bittersweet. Most of them tell of lost loves and yearn for “The Way We Were.” Depending on our personalities, memories can bring smiles to our faces or sorrow to our hearts. Reminiscing can transport us back to simpler times and places, and temporarily suspend time. It is said that God gave us memory so we could have roses in winter. A person who abides in our memory never dies. Memories play a huge part in our lives, and we see the loss of memory as a tragic affliction.
Not surprisingly, the Bible speaks about memories, in both a soothing and a tragic sense. Oddly, memories play a large part of torment in hell and a small part in heavenly bliss.
Faith is based in large part on memories. Unlike what the world characterizes as “blind faith,” Christianity is buttressed by the remembrance of certain historical facts. Many times in the Old Testament, God told Israel to remember His mighty works (Deuteronomy 6:12). The Psalmist declared, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11). Ancient holidays like Passover and Purim are still celebrated by observant Jews, who recall the deliverances of Almighty God. The recurrent theme of Jewish holidays has jokingly been referred to as, “They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!”
The Lord’s Supper looks back to what the Passover anticipated and reminds us that the Lamb of God was sacrificed to save us from eternal death. It, too, is a remembrance (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Remembering God’s words, deeds, and character spurs us on to greater faith and service.
Memory is important in this life, whether it’s remembering where you left the keys, remembering to bring home a gallon of milk, or remembering what the medical book said about removing an appendix. But, as we mentioned before, memory also plays a part in our eternal future.
When a person is saved, God promises to forget his sins forever, which is part of the New Covenant He made with Israel (Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17). One of the glories of heaven is that all the sins and griefs and problems and mistakes of our lives, and all the philosophies of the world, and the temptations of the devil will be forgotten: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17, KJV). In this case, memory loss will be a welcome affliction!
Conversely, in hell, the memories will come flooding back, and will not be pleasant. In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the story of the beggar and the rich man. The beggar begged for crumbs from the rich man’s table, while it appears that the rich man went on carelessly feasting. The beggar died and went to heaven, whereas the rich man entered the place of no hope. Besides the anguish of flame and thirst, the rich man was reminded by Abraham that he enjoyed his good things in life, while the beggar suffered. Now eternity had, with infinite justice, reversed their fortunes, and the beggar was comforted while the rich man was tormented. The rich man will always remember how he spurned the beggar; it will always eat at his conscience. Not only that, but the rich man remembered his five brothers who also spurned the truth, and he desperately begged for someone to go and help them.
Few things in life are as frustrating as being unable to help a loved one. And the torment of carrying lost opportunities to the grave is of little weight compared to carrying them beyond.
The Bible is very clear in its teaching on sin, judgment, hell, obedience, forgiveness, and heaven. Those who have heard God’s free offer of forgiveness and spurned it will, like the rich man, forever remember the missed opportunities to repent. Those who, like the beggar, have accepted that offer, and had their sins forgiven, and have rejoiced in the prospect of living forever with the Lord, will forget every bad choice, every sinful act, every missed blessing, every temptation, pain, sorrow, and loss, and will live in the land of eternal contentment and bliss.
Memories. They can torment, they can heal. They can be created, manipulated, and manufactured. They can weigh us down and immobilize us, and they can encourage us to carry on. Lord, thanks for the memories of your deliverances and your promise to deliver those who call upon your Name! Thanks for giving us Hope!
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God led me here and I'm glad he did. this article was well worth reading. It pointed out the truth of memories in hell and loss of in heaven. Memories of God's calling and the rejction of that pull, will indead B a large part of the torments of hell. How did U put the scripture in here like that? I've seen it B 4 but not in a faithwriters article.