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  • Shawn Thornton

How God Remembers

Tuesday - May 4th

Scripture to Read Today: Hebrews 11:8-12

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age,

was enabled to bear children because

she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

Hebrews 11:11


Recently, I spoke at the memorial service for a woman who lived a life full of brokenness, stress, and trauma. She drew all kinds of people into her world of pain and drama. Her neighbors knew the needs the woman had. They had stepped in to help often over the years. Close friends and family knew they could get a call in the middle of the night about some trivial but upsetting thing. She battled alcoholism most of her adult life. Despite all that, Cheryl developed a reputation for her strong faith and zeal for the Lord. She knew the Scriptures, prayed for hours, and shared her faith with anyone she met.


Cheryl's parents had divorced when she was three and her only sibling, her sister, was about five. The little girls' parents sent them to an orphanage. Neither parent wanted the burden of children after their divorce. Cheryl never got over the deep sense of abandonment that emerged. It was her identity. It was her curse. She believed no one wanted her.


As Cheryl's three children grew into adults, she continued to draw them and their families into her world of drama and pain. Calls in the middle of the night, emotional and impossible pleas to find some way to help her, and demands of love brought a terrible heaviness between a mother and her grown children.


No relief could seem possible. Alcoholism, mental illness, and physical disease finally took Cheryl's life. With the crazy, stress-filled, energy-depleting experiences with their mother, Cheryl's three kids found relief with her passing. Not that they wished her dead, but they knew she lived in a place of constant and unquieted torment. Her death meant she was with Jesus - free of all the heavy-hearted burdens of this life.


Each of her kids spoke at Cheryl's memorial. All three are in their late thirties or early forties. Most who attended the funeral knew Cheryl's complex life of pain AND her love for her God. In my times of prayer with her after worship services at Calvary, Cheryl was worried about how her kids would remember her. She cried with regret for the chaos her emotional instability brought to her children. She wanted so badly for her two daughters and her son to remember something more than the emotional outbursts made worse by her mental health struggles and alcohol.


Her kids remembered her for showing them Jesus in the middle of her imperfections. They spoke of her strong faith. They recalled her spending hours praying to God and reading His Word. Her memorial was nothing like Cheryl thought it would be. Her children, now spiritually mature adults, remembered their mom as a spiritual giant and their greatest spiritual mentor. How awesome is that!


That is how God remembers our lives. Even with the sin and failures of our past, He remembers our faith!


Read Hebrews chapter eleven and note how many flawed people from the Old Testament are celebrated for their faith. The "Hall of Faith" chapter does not mention or dwell on the weaknesses and missteps of biblical heroes - not because there aren't any, but because that's how God remembers.


Hebrews 11:11 talks about Sarah's faith that God would give them a child in their old age. It doesn't mention how she laughed when Abraham told her about God's promise of a son. Of course, God never forgets anything ultimately. But, somehow, He can intentionally choose not to remember our worst moments and deepest sins.


Knowing how God remembers motivates us to live even more intentionally by faith. That kind of grace never hands us a license to sin. That kind of grace spurs us to live for Christ even more than before. Thank God for what He will remember about you today. Live your life so that people will see Jesus in you - despite your imperfections!


God remembers us for our faith, not our failures! That's how God remembers!


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