Remember When?

By Greg Quinn

October 30th, 2014

One of my favorite Alan Jackson songs is entitled, ďRemember When?Ē.  A beautiful song, it talks about looking back on life and remembering the good things in life and love.  Itís hard to listen to this song without stirring up emotions, fond memories, loved ones, and warm feelings of love and hope.  Sometimes, by looking back, we find peace, purpose for our lives, and hope for tomorrow.

So, I ask you today to look into your past.  Remember when?

Remember when you were a child?  Life was much simpler then.  Slower pace.  Nothing to worry about.  No financial pressures.  No pressures at work or in school.  You most likely had a family where you felt love of some sort.  Perhaps you were happy, at peace.  Remember when?

Remember when you first heard about Jesus?  For some of us it was a long time ago.  Our spiritual journey had a starting place as a child, but itís taken a long, long time to get where we are now.  For some of you, the introduction to Jesus may have been more recent.  But regardless of the timeframe, do you remember the feeling you had when you knew your sins were washed away?  Do you remember feeling clean?  Do you remember knowing that God loved you, not just someone else, but you?  Remember when?

Remember when you started feeling the pressures of life?  Was it when you were in school?  Was it the struggle to make the grades, make friends, develop relationships, stay out of trouble?  Was it problems with bullies, problems with girls, or problems with teachers?  Did your bad grades give you problems at home?  Did your good grades label you as a ďnerdĒ?  Or was it later in life, when you were out of school and into the workplace?  Is that when the pressures started?  Or was it when you got married?  Or failed relationships?  Or children on the way?  Or losing your job?  Or losing your spouse?  Or losing your child?  Or losing your parents?  When did your get so overcome with the pressures of life that the happiness you felt when you were a child, or when you first met Jesus, seemed to be so far away that you couldnít see them anymore?  Remember when?

Jesus tells us to place our yoke (our burden) upon him.  God tells us he cares for us.  The Bible reassures us that He (Jesus) has taken away our sin, and cast them as far as from the east to the west, and our sins he remembers no more.  God says that He loved us so much that He gave his only son (Jesus) so that if we were to only believe in Him we would not perish but have eternal life.  Jesus tells us that He came to give us life, and to give it to us in abundance (overflowing). 

If God did all this for us, then why are we so miserable?

If God provided a free way for anyone in the world (young or old, rich or poor) to receive this free gift of eternal life, life in abundance, peace, joy, and happiness, then why donít we have it?  And those of us that have received this gift, why donít we ďrememberĒ what it is that we have received?

Have you ever got a gift that you still remember receiving?  I would say that most gifts you probably forgot within a few weeks.  But perhaps there are a few that you still remember.

I remember one Christmas when we were kids growing up in Carlisle, Tennessee.  We lived in a house we call Mamieís House because it was our great-grandmotherís place.  It was Mom & Dad, me, Jeff, and Boge living in that house.  Sometimes my grandmother, Momís Mom, Mama Kent, lived with us there.  We didnít have a lot, but we didnít know it back then.  We lived on a farm so we had plenty to eat.  Dad and Mom worked hard to provide for us boys the best they could.  I donít remember feeling poor, we just had food to eat and clothes to wear and family and friends, and even with brothers, life was good. 

One year all I talked about was this robot named Big Lou.  I asked Santa for Big Lou for Christmas that year.  Big Lou was the coolest toy a young boy could ever ask for.  Big Lou was about my size at the time, had a belly button that was a squirt gun, had feet that shot rockets, had a handle on the back that if you cranked it Lou spoke in a robot voice, Big Lou shot plastic balls out of one hand, and the other was a grasping hook that would pick up things.  Louís eyes flashed and his teeth glared.  He would bend over and pick up items, and it was very easy to terrorize your younger brothers (especially little Jimmy) with Big Lou.  So that year all I wanted for Christmas was Big Lou. 

Well, it came Christmas morning and in this 4-room house every corner of the living room had presents.  One corner held the Christmas tree, another corner had presents for Mom and Dad.  Another corner had presents for Jeff, another corner held the presents of little Boge.  Under the tree were presents for underprivileged kids, extended family presents, gifts for church friends, and presents for Mama Kent and Mama Quinn.  To my amazement, as the first in the room that early cold Christmas morning, I saw where Santa had eaten the cookies and drank the milk, I saw Jeff and Boge run by me to their corner containing their gifts, I looked under the tree and saw the gifts for everyone else, but no where were there any gifts for Greg.  Not just no Big Lou, but nothing!  Dad appreciated the humor in the situation, but Mom, being compassionate and seeing my distress, suggested I go into the next room.  When I ran in there, my heart stopped.  In the far corner of my parentís bedroom, looking right at me, was Big Lou!

This became one of my favorite Christmas memories.  I remember well the day like it was yesterday.  I remember the family time.  I remember torturing my brothers with Big Lou. And I remember Big Lou fondly to this day.

This, you see, was a gift that I had no problem in remembering.  Why is it that I remembered Big Lou, when there have been thousands of gifts that have come since and I have a problem remembering them?  Perhaps it was that I wanted Big Lou so much that my desire and the receipt of this gift was so great that it is permanently etched in my memory.

Perhaps you have a similar memory.  What gift have you received that was so valuable to you at the time that you cannot forget it?  Remember when?

Now, remember back to some of your worst times.  Times of pain, despair, trial.  Times of problems and hurt and feeling alone.  Do you remember when perhaps that time was at its peak, that you received another gift.  The gift of life.  The gift of eternal life.  The gift of Jesus.  Remember when?

Do you remember as a child of God when things got tough that you could always look to Heaven and know that God would help you through it?  Remember when?

We tend to remember the things that are important to us.  The gifts of importance.  The relationships of importance.  The accomplishments of importance.

Of all the gifts any of us could ever receive, the gift of Jesus is the most valuable.  Of all the relationships that we could ever enjoy, the relationship with Jesus is the sweetest.  Of all the accomplishments that we could achieve, the accomplishment of recognizing that we are a child of the Creator God and are saved forever through the blood of Jesus is the most outstanding accomplishment, and one we did nothing to obtain except receive it.

So today, when you take lifeís journey backwards through time, into remembering things of the past, good times and bad, take a moment to reflect upon the things that God has done for you.  Remember all the blessings of your life that are all because of Godís love for you.  When you remember, remember these things.  Remember when?

In remembering what God has done for you in the past, and being thankful for what He has already done, God stands ever ready to help you in your challenges of today and tomorrow.  Today is yesterday of tomorrow, and your tomorrows one day will be days of the past.  Live today like it is your last day.  Live today to serve God and serve others.  Live today a day of joy and victory, and even in times of trouble, remember when God delivered you before, and because of his great love, he will deliver you again.  So when you look back on today tomorrow, or tomorrows in the future, you will see with fresh eyes the greatness of Godís love for you, His beloved child.  And you will ďremember whenĒ.

Remember when?

Greg Quinn