I am a postcard hunter.
My kids tease me about this and when I head into the gift shop at the art museum, they whine about my postcard search. I show them what I’ve collected–one postcard for each of us, specially matched to our own interests. Like the Egyptian mummy cat for my daughter who loves cats and the African giraffe sculpture for my son (giraffes are his favorite).
On our trip to Wisconsin, I search for four days for postcards only to finally track down a nearly hidden rack of them in the Minneapolis airport.
I’m pleased. My kids are indifferent at best. Postcards. They don’t get the point or the value.
But for one thing, I’m the one with the money and few souvenirs are as inexpensive as a postcard.
Plus, I have a long history of postcard memories. I have some from my sixth grade class trip to Amish country in Pennsylvania and from the time I flew to visit my grandparents in Texas when I was 12.
I can flip through the postcards and remember trips to amusement parks and caverns and historical sites and museums. Those help me remember where I’ve been.
And I have the collection of postcards others sent to me. Those help me remember the people I’ve loved.
I have postcards from my dad, sent as he traveled with the military bands when I was a girl, and postcards from my grandmother on her trip to St. Petersburg, and even postcards from my great-grandmother on her travels in the 1950s. They all passed away so long ago, and yet here in my collection I have their handwritten notes and a connection to their travels.
Maybe my kids don’t really get postcards because they think they’ll remember.
But I know how often we forget.
How forgetful I can be. Life pushes me faster and faster, rushing through this day and the next, and even those moments you most expect to remember blur into the fog of it all.
Memory isn’t passive, not the way we expect it to be. No, remembrance is an active discipline, a choosing not to forget despite our humanness, our busyness, our moving on.
We think we’ll remember the miracles, the accounts of how God delivered us, the times He carried us right out of the pit, the stand-still encounters with God when it seemed like He cut through all the noise of this world and the cacophony of our own emotions and He spoke to us, God to person, one clear voice cutting through it all with a message we’ll never forget.
Yet, we forget it after all.
Psalm 78 shows how fickle remembrance can be. Israel strayed from God. He disciplined them. Then:
They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God, their Redeemer (verse 35 CBS).
So, they repented and returned. He extended grace and they followed closely for a while, until:
They did not remember his power shown
on the day he redeemed them from the foe (verse 42).
They remembered and then they didn’t.
Asaph the Psalmist relays all the details of God’s miraculous provision, the plagues in Egypt manna and water, wilderness direction, victories in the Promised Land.
Still, they forgot all that God had done. .
Could this be me?
Could forgetfulness in my own heart lead not just to apathy, but to waywardness? And not just that, but to worry? If I forget what God has done, I also forget all that God can do.
And He is faithful. He is so faithful. He is generous and gracious. He is compassionate. It’s not just that He provided, but HOW He provided that I want to treasure and honor.
It’s been a year almost since we moved into our new home and people still ask me, “How do you like your new house?”
I tell them the same thing all the time. How I drive into our neighborhood and round this one curve in the drive back to our home. As I do, I see our house come into view and I breathe a prayer of thanks.
It has been a year. I am still thankful. I keep breathing out that prayer of thanks because I do not want to forget.
And when I need new help and new provision, , when there is trouble, when I am struggling, I remember the goodness of the Lord and how I celebrate every time I drive into this neighborhood.
We think we’ll remember, but how often we forget.
So we choose to remember. We choose to collect these postcards of faith. We choose to commit over and over again to gratitude and praise. We choose to give testimony to ourselves and to others: Come hear what God has done. Come know who our God is.