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Monday, July 11, 2011

I Forgot, but God Didn't

Try as I might to organize myself and make plans, it seems that I am still really good at forgetting things from time to time.  I mean, sometimes it seems like I forget more of my obligations than I remember.  To list some of my failures, I have been known to get so busy writing that I forget to eat, I have forgotten to study for a college-level test before (this was with a planner!), and more recently, this past Friday I forgot to post something here on Savvy Sheep.

Is this like you, too?  I hope someone will agree with me, so I don't have to feel like I'm losing my mind.  I think the problem is not so much a memory issue as it is a focus issue.  When I forgot that test, it was not out of habit or even carelessness.  A friend had needed me to be there for her the night before, and by the end of it, I had put my whole focus on that, to the neglect of other things.

Our Lack of Focus

When something gets so huge that it engulfs our focus, we tend to forget, and neglect, the other things that need our attention.  This can happen with housecleaning, it can happen with relationships, and it can even happen with our relationship with God.

Yes, in the spirit of humble confession, I have been known to neglect my relationship with God in the midst of busy times with my work and so forth.  Unfortunately, I think this is also a fairly universal problem of human beings.  The saddest part of it all is that it doesn't pay to neglect God.  Nothing else is truly satisfying.   Even when I open the Bible and it convicts my heart of sin, I appreciate the concern for me that went into those words.  As David wrote, "your rod and your staff, they comfort me," (Psalm 23:4 NIV 2011).

God's Absolute Focus

Contrast our lack of focus with God's absolute focus.  From the moment Adam and Eve sinned, God set into action a plan that He carried out at the perfect time.  He didn't forget the people who forgot Him.  All the time that they were suffering in the bondage they had foolishly chosen, He was working out a solution, and He didn't leave even one detail, not even one word, to chance (Romans 5:6; Isaiah 55: 10-11).

And now that He has accomplished the salvation that He had planned, He is still working on other plans He made.  It is clear by what He does that people are high on God's priority list, and other things are not stealing His focus.  In Jesus' words, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows," (Luke 12: 6, 7 NIV 2011).

God focuses so much on us because He loves us.  Just as we can spot our loved ones in a crowd or even from great distances, God can filter out all the distractions and see only our hearts and our needs.  He loves us and cherishes us.

The Meaning of Neglect

What a terrible thing it is to neglect God!  It is so important to spend time with God, meditating on His word and making His thoughts our rules for living.  His ways are good, and obeying Him protects us from the suffering of punishment.  Taking time to study His word changes our focus and transforms our lives into the healthy pattern that He desires for us.

Going deeper still, His ways are the only things in this world that have value, and this is proven every time we come back to Him.  All else fades in transience and disappointment.  His word, eternally enthroned as Christ (John 1:1), lasts forever, but the ways of the world will always crumble and die.

Going even deeper still, when we neglect God, we are neglecting someone who loves us more than the people who love us most.  We are insulting our closest friend, and putting off the God who loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us.  There is a note of betrayal there, and the stench of sin. Keith Green sung about it in his song, "You Love the World (and You're Ignoring Me)."  Here is the video:

Today, let us take our focus off of the distractions of the world, and reject the things that corrupt us.  Maybe we forget things, but let's not forget God.  He hasn't forgotten us.