Samson said it, Hannah said it, the thief on the cross said it. It's a phrase that peppers the entire bible and until recently I never connected the dots. "Remember me..." Another variant is "Remember your servant..."
We cruise through life and we get it organized in tidy packages and we do our best to keep our baggage to a minimum...carry-on size only, able to fit in the overhead compartment. Some of us will be able to live out our days this way, in a neat, tidy, uneventful manner. The lucky will have scant few bumps in the road and only a minimal measure of disappointment. The kids will be happy and healthy, business will be good, the crops will be plentiful. And of course, they will experience a nice, tidy, manageable relationship with God. Prayer will be easy and seldom urgent. Testing will be brief. They'll cruise through "Our Daily Bread" or the fashionable "Jesus Calling" with great aplomb, underline some trinket that means a great deal to some poor struggling soul and very little to them, down their second cup of French grind, free-trade, Bolivian hyper-brew from a $49 mug, mutter a blessing over the house and be off to work in the X-5. They walk through each day with their theology mapped out in a nice neat system and they feel connected to a very orderly God through their very orderly spiritual philosophy.
They're good people -don't get me wrong- they have a real salvation relationship with Jesus and they get it right for the most part. But they aren't like most of us, and they are detached from the struggles we feel because they have never felt the struggles. If they have, they managed to make something profitable and opportunistic out of them. They created a themed wristband, or wrote a book, or Tweeted something so well-crafted that Rick Warren retweeted it the next day and they became stars in the Christian Twitterverse.
They have never had to cry out in the night "Remember me!" to a God who felt distant, acted indifferent, and spoke with heavy silence.
Then there's the rest of us...
The rest of us are like Samson, and Hannah, and the thief on the cross, and David in so many of his Psalms.
The rest of us lug around burdens that we've carried for so long without relief that they feel like part of us. The rest of us take labored steps under heavy loads and feel shame for carrying them as the whispers reach our ears. Whispers from the beautiful few who have it all together and who see our struggles as a barometer of our spiritual lives and our love for God. Or who view our difficulties as some sort of direct correlation to our knowledge of the Bible or the level of sin in our hearts.
We toil away every day, slipping backwards much of the time. We've loved and lost and loved some more. We've risked all and the bet didn't pay. We've stepped in it, and it stuck to our shoes. We've fallen to our knees, broken souls with weary hearts, and when we began to pray nothing would come out. We couldn't even imagine God listening to us. We cried until no more tears would flow. We reminded ourselves that "God is good all the time" and "God doesn't bring you to something unless he brings you through it" and a thousand other bumper sticker theological statements. A long time ago we dismissed those as fluff and platitude and now we cling to the basics...John 3:16. (He loves us) or Matthew 28:20 (I am always with you)
We're too street-wise to read Our Daily Bread and too anti-establishment and just not cool enough to read "Jesus Calling". "Devotions" to us are those rare moments when we can still feel the connection to God that we felt once and that we long for again. "Quiet Times" almost never happen because our hearts haven't been quiet in a long time. We feel forgotten. God is silent, His words don't leap off the page. Prayers bounce off the ceiling. Trouble camps at our door. Our steps don't seem very ordered and we sure aren't experiencing the mythical "Divine Health" and "Prosperous Blessings of God". David once wrote: "I was young and now I am old but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread" to which we reply: "Look over here, David".
We feel forgotten. Forgotten by God and forgotten by His followers who don't have time for anything less than spiritual John Wayne's who never falter, never fail, never stumble and for whom every bump in the road yields another best seller and another Tweet with a hundred-thousand followers.
The rest of us are Samsons...eyes blinded by bad decisions. Chained to the temple wall with the world laughing at us, as we wait for our hair to grow back. We're Hannah, waiting for a child. We're a thief on a cross in our dying moments...realizing that the guy to our right is Jesus. Our salvation moment wasn't glorious or beautiful. It was ignoble. It came when we were mocking and caught in disbelief.
We feel like God still loves us -otherwise He's a liar- but He simply has forgotten about us. We aren't high on His list of priorities like the beautiful folks. We're the also-rans. The nameless ones who toil each day just to hang on to dreams and hopes. The ones for whom the biggest achievement of Faith will be just enduring another day.
I'm that guy. I need to remind myself that Samson and David and Hannah and Elijah and countless other heroic figures of the Faith felt abandoned and forgotten. They weren't. They were just part of a plan that took a long time to fulfill and that required their lonely, isolated walk. But it felt like they were forgotten.
Sunday I heard Ravi Zacharias teach on "Remember Me" and it was the most moving teaching I've ever heard from him.
I'm mired in this right now...I feel forgotten. I know a lot of others do too. More than will ever admit. To you I say, simply, Hang in there. You are not forgotten, even if it feels like it.
Jesus...you have come into your kingdom now...please remember us too.