Our memory can often be the bondslave of hopelessness. A despondent mind can call to remembrance every dark ominous cloud of the past, and expand upon every unhappy feature of it in the present. When memory becomes clothed in sackcloth it can only present to the mind a bitter brew of bleakness. Your mind can take you to a place where you forget that joy exists. There is, however, no need for this kind of stinkin’ thinkin’. 

Biblical wisdom can quickly transform our memory into a messenger of comfort. That same recall, which on the one hand brings so many gloomy forecasts, may be taught to bring forth on the other hand a wealth of hopeful signs. Let’s use the prophet Jeremiah as an example of how this is accomplished.

Jeremiah’s memory was often clothed in sackcloth. “I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this—the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.” (Lamentations 3:20-22 NLT)

Jeremiah's experience had brought him to a place of deep bitterness in his soul but notice how the text points out that this same memory restored him to life and comfort when he remembered the great faithfulness of God. Jeremiah’s memory was like a two-edged sword. One edge pierced his soul to sever his peace and confidence while the other edge sliced-up into tiny bits his despair.

We should exercise our memories more wisely. Therefore, here is an application to this general principle. When we are in our darkest of distresses we should flip-the-switch to the source of our hope thereby instantaneously igniting the soul’s lamp of comfort and joy.

God has no need to create a new thing here on earth in order to restore Christ-followers to joy. If we would humbly turn to God’s Word, the book of truth and to His throne of grace, our little light would soon shine again. All that is need is for us to do like Jeremiah and prayerfully rake the ashes of the past in order to see the light for the present.

It is incumbent upon us to remember the loving-kindness of the Lord, and to practice His acts of grace. Only then are we able to open up our vast volumes of recollection to see that they are richly illuminated memorials of His mercy. Therefore, I will hope in Him! Now, I’m happy!

Psalm 42:5-6 ESV — Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.


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