I would argue that there is one quality our mammalian cousins possess that we could only dream of having—great memory*.
I am a Jew though. Not biologically. Not with an original surname like Kelly.
I’m a Jew because like my spiritual forefathers, I forget.
The whole Judeo-Christian world just celebrated either Easter or Passover last week. And as I’m reading through the Bible this year, I’ve been startled to discover how many times the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is recounted in Scripture. I mean over and over and over again.
For those not familiar with it, the first Passover was quite literally the Eve of the Exodus, a mutual expatriation by both the slaves and their taskmasters after Pharaoh had gone ten rounds with Jehovah and lost quite spectacularly.
Now you’d think after witnessing such supernatural feats as water to blood, an overrunning of frogs, gnats, flies, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of every firstborn in their enemy’s camp, the Israelites faith would be so fortified that nothing could shake it. But alas, this is a tale of woe, weakness, and wavering.
How easy it is to trust when all goes well or even when we understand why we are denied our heart’s desire. But when we are left in the dark, how quickly we turn on our masters. We do it as kids. Ask any parent of a terrible two-year-old or a teen. We just get more creative with it as adults. What’s that diva ditty, “I want what I want when I want it?”
How easy it is to forget to ask, “What does God want?” I don’t like asking that question because sometimes I don’t want to hear the answer. Often it means I’m going to be put into a position of uncomfortability, of change, or worse, of pain. And, like most humans, I generally don’t like pain.
The truth is we only ever have two choices when God brings us to a fork in the road—his way (will) or ours. Our way often looks like Lot’s view of the landscape when Abraham let his nephew choose his share of the Promised Land (Gen 13). The beautiful, lush expanse he picked backed right up to Sodom and Gomorrah—and we all know the pleasant outcome of those places.
God’s way often looks steep and riddled with brambles, thorns, and every annoying weed, squatter, and invader on the block, but once we’ve cleared the beginning of the path, it miraculously levels off. It’s not usually smooth sailing. Okay, well, it’s never smooth sailing, but at least we won’t have to worry about volcanic rainfall.
Psalm 78:57b says of my spiritual ancestors that “like a crooked arrow, they missed the target of God’s will.”
If you made it all the way to the end of this blogpost, I’m willing to bet you don’t want to be a warped arrow either. So how don’t we miss the mark?
We don’t forget.
We don’t forget about the amazing Manual He spent centuries writing and preserving for us. We don’t forget the amazing Man He sent to save us. And we don’t forget the amazing ways He works every single day of our lives to keep us breathing and thinking and living in a way that brings Him the glory He so deserves.
So while I may be an Israelite in my spiritual genes, I hope I can swallow my pride, imitate my biological cousins, and never forget what God has done for me.
*What in the world do chimpanzees have to do with not forgetting? Check it out.
Frankly, it’s embarrassing.