Thursday, July 8, 2010

Memory 101

He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Psalm 107:29

Most Jewish men in the first century had put to memory the Psalms. With just a trigger any psalm would rise to the surface bringing solace and encouragement, praise and thankfulness. Scripture was at the tip of their tongues. Oh that I had a memory reserve like that!

I wonder then if the disciples, who were on the boat with Jesus the night the storm broke out while crossing the Galilee, remembered this verse. Perhaps fear prevented them from remembering. They probably woke Jesus with “Do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) more out of desperation and the need for an extra hand on deck. Nevertheless, isn’t it interesting that if they had remembered this verse in the Psalms they might have behaved less frantically?

When the waters are rising around me what is my first instinct? More often than I care to admit, I hear my voice wailing above the torment, “Why is this happening now?” and scramble to solve the problem in my own way. I would like my first thought to be, he made the storm be still and respond to whatever is troubling me out of that promise. But, first I need to have buried it in me, making it a part of my very essence.

I keep any number of things in my “just in case” memory—social security numbers, phone numbers, account numbers, birthdays, passwords. They all help me to “survive” in the world. But, knowing and memorizing Scripture will help me more than just survive it will help thrive.

Jesus, forgive me when I panic and feel like I have to shake
you awake to calm my storms. You already know and are ready to say,
“Peace.” Help me to remember Your words, making them a part of me.

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