No one likes to be forgotten.
Many of the women I serve in the Finetown Informal Settlement area south of Johannesburg feel this way. As I have said my farewells to them before I depart to the States, I have listened to their hearts as they implored…
“Please don’t forget me.”
“Please remember me in your prayers.”
“Please remember to pray for us.”
“Heather, will you please remember me?”
Each woman is fearful that I will forget her when I am in the States on home assignment.
Each woman has shared her story with me over the years. For many of these women, their circumstances are beyond comprehension. Their challenges vary. Many of my Finetown area friends are single mothers or grandmothers raising their children and grandchildren on very limited resources. They are doing everything they can to meet the South African government’s ECD (early childhood development) regulations – even as these requirements change often and unexpectedly. Some are returning to school to gain more knowledge of early childhood development and how to run an effective ECD. All have experienced the tragic and sudden death of some one they hold dear. All of them have suffered betrayal. Many are enduring significant health problems that range from HIV/AIDS to arthritis to diabetes to significant back problems. Yet, each of these women rise every morning and face those challenges with courage and determination. One comfort they have relied upon through the years is that they know I am praying for them. When I visit these ladies, they ask me to pray as they seek the remembrance and attention of our God.
For when we are experiencing a difficult set of circumstances, don’t we want our God to remember us?
As my Finetown friends take comfort in knowing I will remember them, we can rest in the assurance that our God remembers us.
Do you doubt that?
There are times when we may wonder if God remembers us. We may question if God really empathizes with our pain and struggles. And when our situation continues in way that seems indefinite – perhaps for many months or years – we have the potential to doubt his love, care or intervention in our lives.
There is a familiar story in the bible that highlights the truth that our God is very much aware of our situation and does not forget. Do you remember Noah? He built a massive ark in response to his obedience and love for God. The ark served as a protective shelter and helped spare Noah and his family and thousands of wild animals from a supernatural, cataclysmic flood. After the rains had fallen for 40 days and 40 nights, and the water flooded the earth for another 150 days, it would be natural to wonder if God still had Noah, his family and all the wild animals that were floating aboard a massive ark on his mind…especially when they had witnessed the complete washing away of everything they had known on earth.
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded.” New International Version, Genesis 8:1
Sometimes, when we are in a challenging situation that continues for an unspecified amount of time, we may fail to recognize the care and protection of our God. We may doubt His presence and may even wonder if God remembers us at all!
Yet, I believe, that if God remembered Noah, He will do the same for you and me.
God took the initiative to save Noah and his family. Doesn’t God do the same thing for us today? Through Jesus Christ, God took initiative to offer His love and the gift of salvation.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While were still sinners, Christ died for us.” New International Version, Romans 5:8
The ark is an incredible representation of the salvation and the care we are provided in Christ. He is our Ark in every life circumstance. Some of these situations in life are of our own making. Other life challenges rush in like a flood and overwhelm us; we feel like we have been set adrift. Noah had no physical way to control the ark as it moved across the waters. Noah, his family, and all of the animals were truly dependent upon the love, grace, mercy, and protection of their God. In the same way, we are dependent upon the love, grace, mercy, and protection offered through Jesus Christ.
We would like to think we have control.
We actually try to take control of our lives, don’t we?
Yet, when a health matter, relationship issue, family crisis, work emergency or any other kind of personal disaster floods into our lives, we realize we have no ability to stop the powerful, cascading waters.
Isn’t it then that we cry out, “Lord, please remember me?”
Please remember my desire for marriage, God.
Please remember my need for a job, God.
Please remember my need for a cure, God.
Please remember me as I take my exams, God.
Please remember my need for a friend, God.
Please remember my husband, God.
Please remember my children, God.
Please remember my hurts, God.
Please remember my financial situation, God.
Please remember me as I confess the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, God.
Please remember me, God. Please remember.
Remembrance brings some level of security, does it not? If we understand that our security is in Christ, we have every reason to believe the peace and love of Christ is available to us in our situation – no matter what the situation is.
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. New International Version, Hebrews 7:25
Just as the ladies of Finetown have asked me to remember them and to pray for them while I am in the States, we can take even more hope and courage in the fact that our Savior Jesus Christ remembers us and is praying for us beside the throne of God Almighty.
Friends, do you feel like your God has forgotten you?
Take heart in these words: But God remembered Noah….
God purposely intervened on Noah’s behalf with a change in the wind. The waters receded once and for all and in time Noah and his family were positioned exactly where their God wanted them to be.
Do you need a change in the wind for your situation?
Do you need the flood waters to recede?
Do you need your God to act on your behalf in some incredible and intimate way?
If yes, here is my prayer for you:
How grateful we are that you remember us! Even though our current situation seems endless and it feels like you are absent in it, we choose to believe that you are involved in our lives. You are protecting us. You are shielding us. You are loving us. You are acting on our behalf. Our situation may seem long and slow-going. Yet, we are confident that your timing is faultless. And just as you blew a wind of significant change into Noah’s life, you can do the same for us. We praise you and thank you for your intervention. You take hold of our right hand and speak words of assurance to us, “Do not fear, I will help you.”
Help us, now, O Lord.
We take comfort in your strength. We are grateful for the power, security and love of your Son Jesus Christ who is always near. We thank you for every prayer that Jesus is speaking for us. We pray that these prayers not only transform our situation, but transform us! We count you faithful, O God. Just as you remembered Noah, we ask you to remember us.
In the name of your Son Jesus Christ whom we love, may it be so!
Isaiah 41:13 image retrieved from Google Search