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Opinion

God remembers those who are his

STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete - The Freeman

Tomorrow, Filipinos flock to the cemeteries. November 1 and 2 are traditionally All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, but more often than not, these two days are observed with visits to the cemeteries! Our memories will always include these together with birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and other occasions. But what is it with the dead that we “observe” anyway?

We observe and remember because we don’t want to forget. While alive, we would always cherish the memories of our loved ones and share their memoirs with others. Of course, deep inside, we keep that ardent hope that our succeeding generations will remember us, too. No one wants to sink into oblivion. Man’s obsession with self always seeks ways to be remembered. That’s the cause for the term, memorabilia.

However, the reality is stark --our memories…or others’, or the world’s memories of us will be short-lived. I wrote a few weeks ago that many of us can’t even remember the names beyond our four grandparents. Try doing so for eight great-grandparents or 16 great-great-grandparents. While all our grandchildren might remember us, you can be sure not all will for great-grandchildren and beyond. After three generations, no one will remember us. Not our names, certainly not what we look like (except in pictures), not our character, or who we really were as human beings. That’s why we try to find ways to make our memories last. It might be easier today with the advent of the internet --Facebook and all, but that may be for just an additional generation. The stark fact remains --NOBODY will remember us in 80 years … it’s as if we didn’t exist! Maybe even sooner. That’s why the rich and influential people, royalty of the old, and anybody with means, build statues and monuments, and all sorts of long-lasting “remembrances” to prolong their memories for as long as possible. Maybe some would be remembered in more than 80 years but eventually, ALL except for the famous, or notorious, will be forgotten.

The good news is that God remembers those who are his, and God being God will always remember for eternity. This we cannot say for those who are not. Psalms 9:5 speaks of God “rebuking the nations, destroying the wicked; and blotting out their name forever and ever.” Whoa! – “forgetting” may be a mistake, but “blotting out names” is as intentional as you can get! “Forever and ever!” Not only will no one remember, even God intentionally, by his own choice, won’t! To be forgotten by God is the worst thing ever for anybody.

But the Bible is replete with promises of God “remembering” those who are his. In Jeremiah 31:20, it says, “Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:20). God surely remembers some as he intentionally forgets others. The key is reconciliation. Have we been reconciled to God? Or not yet? Two verses in Scripture would be great for devotion during these holidays --2 Corinthians 5:18-21 and Romans 5:8-11. God bless you all.

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