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Many of us are reaching what is ordinarily called advanced age.
That means we have lived longer than many people expected.
One of the benefits of this is our ability to forget things.
We are the brunt of jokes, because we have mastered the ability to take five steps in a certain direction and then stand there wondering why we were moving.
Forgetting things is not just the realm of the aged, because the younger set today is discovering that they forget things even though they had made a list.
Their problem is having too much on their mind at one time.
The reverse side of this forgetfulness is a cause for awe with those suffering from Alzheimers, which we know is a disease causing immense forgetfulness.
It is amazing what an Alzheimers victim recalls.
Gracie’s mom could not remember having babies, which is something she loved about her life.
She could not remember her children, but she could still recall scripture verses she had learned.
We could see the joy on her face as she remembered what they meant to her.
Over and over again we hear of this among Christians afflicted with the dementia disease.
Why is that?
Why do we seem to forget important milestones in our life, but can recall the eternal truths we learned along the way?
Do you think maybe it is that phrase—eternal truth—that might be the difference?
Maybe there are some things that are just too good to forget.
The prophet Jeremiah, in the midst of all his struggles that came with trying to serve the Lord, felt that way at times.
As was true of many of God’s prophets, Jeremiah was not a popular guy.
He was often ridiculed for his words, and one time was left in the bottom of a cistern, which was much deeper than a 55-gallon drum.
As he would look at his circumstances, he would begin to get the mullygrubs.
We can see that in his writings called Lamentations.
First, he calls out to the Lord to look at his situation.
Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
The word “wanderings” has a different meaning than what we would ordinarily think of.
Picture someone in the middle of a circle of bullies being shoved back and forth from one bully to another.
That is the type of wandering to which Jeremiah was subjected.
After he asks the Lord to see what is happening, he says that these things weigh heavily on his mind.
My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
Don’t we also get the same way when we find ourselves in challenging circumstances?
When we are sick or in pain, we believe there is nothing good worth thinking about.
Our mind is consumed with the discomfort.
When a machine that we depend on breaks, our mind is consumed with thoughts about how to take care of the problem.
If our problem is not soon alleviated, our soul becomes like Jeremiah said—bowed down within us.
All joy is gone, and nothing anyone says or does seems to lift us out of the mullygrubs.
But then, a light begins to dawn for Jeremiah.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
He calls something to mind.
In the midst of overwhelming sorrow, he calls on something to remember.
We do this with the passing of a loved one.
In the midst of our sorrow, all of a sudden a thought comes in about them that makes us smile as we recall a pleasant moment with them.
Usually, something like that happens without our conscious thought.
It just appears while we are in the midst of our pain over the loss.
But, there are things in the Bible that seem to indicate that we do not have to wait for the thought to show up.
There are things we can do that can keep us from ending up in the deep dark hole of depression that attends a prolonged period of the mullygrubs.
King David also had his bouts with depression as people and things would turn against him.
And David was greatly distressed;
for the people spoke of stoning him,
because the soul of all the people was grieved,
every man for his sons and for his daughters:
but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
David realized he was on a downward spiral with his feelings and took charge over his thoughts and emotions.
How often do we get caught in one of those downward spirals and feel as if we just want to ride it all the way down?
There is something mesmerizing about those feelings coming from the negative thinking we have been relishing.
The hypnosis of depression is somewhat like the white lines on the highway droning underneath as we lose conscious thought about our driving and begin to drift off in our thoughts.
It is quite possible for that to not end in a good way.
Unless you take charge of the situation and snap out of it.
That is what David did in the midst of his downward plunge into depression.
He took charge of his thoughts and encouraged himself in the Lord.
Maybe he was aware of the principle the apostle laid out for us and the Philippian church.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The word “think” in this verse is an intense word.
It is not about what simply passes through our minds without notice.
This word means to force your thoughts.
Obviously, we are to force our thoughts onto good things to think about.
Left to ourselves, most of us will soon go down the path of negativity thinking about the economy, or government, or other types of idiots.
Given the reality of our human existence, we know that we are not able to continually force our thoughts to conform to any form of rigor.
The mind is going to go where it goes, and we are at the effect of it.
Uninvited thoughts may come in, but you do not have to pull up a chair and offer them hospitality.
That is why we need to recall these principles of bringing our thoughts into captivity, especially when they begin to run wild.
Paul mentioned this in another of his letters.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion
raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
We are to bring our wandering thoughts under control.
It is often our wandering thoughts that get us into trouble sending us down that path of negative emotions.
That negativity, that path toward depression is often brought about by our thoughts.
Our negative thinking is often brought about by the circumstances in our life in the moment.
When things are not going well, we tend to agree with the thoughts that say things are not going well.
Pretty soon, we are on that slide.
That is where Jeremiah was going as he looked at his situation and thought about all the bad things happening to him.
Then he took charge of his thinking.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
He called something to mind.
He brought it up so that he could destroy the downward path he was on. On the surface, it looked as if God had forgotten about him, that He didn’t care what was happening to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah then tells us what it was that he called to mind.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I don’t know if my faith is strong enough to be able to say that from the bottom of a cistern.
But, I want to.
I want my faith to be at the place where things only get me down for a moment before I am able to call to mind the promises of God.
And you want that also, don’t you?
Look at this statement of fact carefully.
At what point does God’s love run out?
At what point will He lose patience with you?
When will His mercy be shut off for you?
There are some of God’s promises that simply do not cheer us up—such as Rom. 8:28—but this fact about God’s love and mercy should be something that we never forget.
He starts every morning out with a new batch of mercies for His people so that His patience with us is never-ending.
You cannot push God over the edge so that He loses His temper with you.
His faithfulness is great.
May you remember His love and mercy regardless of the depth of your trial.
The steadfast love of the Lord for you never ceases, and His mercy towards you will never be exhausted.
That kind of love and mercy is simply too good to forget.