We live in a day and time when far too many older people are struggling with memory issues. Some of the struggles are normal, those fading moments that come with growing older. However, some folks battle extreme memory issues like senility and Alzheimer’s; it is sad and frustrating. And since we have little control over those issues, thinking about our future can be a little scary. We can find ourselves wondering if we will be one of those who forget serious things, even who our family members are.
So I want to propose a new exercise for everyone, especially those of us over 60 yrs. Every time you pray, thank God for the things you do remember. Don’t focus on what you can’t recall; that will just make you angry and discouraged. Thank Him for His help in what you can remember and give Him the glory.
Recently I found myself kind of discouraged over a collection of Christmas Nativity books that I had lost. I knew they had been in my office in a special box, but they were nowhere to be found. Then one day as I was praying, the LORD showed me once again how insignificant those books really were. Suddenly I found myself thinking about children all over the world who didn’t even have enough to eat during this Christmas season. I thanked Him for opening my eyes and for helping me see things more clearly, more like He does. Then I wasn’t hung up on the books any longer and I wasn’t discouraged or frustrated. PTL!
A few days later I found myself awake during the night. For me those have become special prayer times. My wife, Shari, was also frustrated over the disappearance of the Christmas Nativity books. So I found myself asking the LORD to help Shari let go of that frustration. Suddenly, clear as a bell, I saw the books in one of my office file cabinet drawers. It surprised me so much that I woke right up. I found myself rejoicing in the middle of the night and when Shari woke up, she was too.
Sure enough, when morning arrived, there they were, in that empty drawer where I had placed them. Not a single thing had changed, not really. All that occurred was that I REMEMBERED where I had put them. I have thanked God for “remembering” ever since. Not just remembering the books, but all my memories. I don’t think I’d ever thanked Him for memory before, but I have now. And that’s what I’m asking you to do.
Thank God for everything you can remember, for everyone you can remember. Thank Him for every wonderful memory; even thank Him for the bad ones, the ones that taught you someone or something to avoid in the future. Praise His name and give Him all the glory for your memory; your ability to recall people and events and therefore, in a small way, to relive those events.
One final thing: don’t bark out orders to God demanding how your memory will function throughout the later years of your life. It’s ok to ask Him, not ok to demand. Finish your prayer like Jesus did: “Father, You will be done.” I ask God regularly for sharp mental health until the day I die and now I also thank Him for what I can remember. Why don’t you do the same.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.