The Metamorphosis of Memory
I never want Facebook to show me a memory like that again. Normally, this is a special feature on Facebook. Typically the memories are cute and refreshing, but this was one I did not want to remember. However, this particular memory took me on a journey. A journey you may need to take. The destination at the end of Memory Lane is fantastic, but sometimes the path is difficult. If Jeremiah had Facebook, his “on this day” reminder would have brought him to tears! However, it did not leave him there. We need to experience the same metamorphosis of memory that Jeremiah experienced.
The first leg of the journey down Memory Lane for Jeremiah and for us leads us to pain. He said, “Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall” (Lamentations 3:19). It would have been painful to revisit the moments during the Babylonian siege. In the next poem, Jeremiah remembers mothers preparing their children as the entree when he said, “The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: They were their meat…” (Lamentations 4:10). The pain would be like visiting the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. or walking through Auschwitz. Our minds are programmed to avoid pain. At this point, your mind tells you to turn back, but there is always pain in change. In order for the transformation to take place in your life, you must understand the pain is only a small part of the journey.
The second leg of the journey down Memory Lane for Jeremiah took him to his knees—prayer. “My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me” (Lamentations 3:20). Later in the poem, Jeremiah said, “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens” (Lamentations 3:40-41). Once we have been afflicted by the pain of the memory and have revisited the low point in our life, we have only one rational response. In our humility, God is ever near. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). Prayer is the sound of a humble heart. Ponder the following explanation of prayer:
The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness…a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty…it is a confession of human emptiness. The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies…[prayer] while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the very dust. — Charles Spurgeon
The final leg of the journey down Memory Lane which is the most refreshing is praise. The pain drives us to prayer which makes us aware of God’s faithfulness. Jeremiah was now emotionally positioned to have a personal worship service in his heart:
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (Lamentations 3:21-23)
Our pain erases our pride. Our prayer emphasizes His provision. Our praise exalts His preeminence. “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 89:1). Never erase your memories regardless of how painful they may be. The metamorphosis of your memories can transform you from pain to praise. It will enrich your awareness of God’s mercies and faithfulness. You will never indulge in God’s faithfulness unless you have a healthy memory.