Every once in a while, a dark and heavy thought floods my mind. I try to dismiss it because I know it’s not going anywhere healthy, but when things happen like the recent suicide of Robin Williams, I can’t avoid it.
What if I sink, too?
If you’ve had a history of depression, I suspect you know the train of thought I’m talking about.
I remember feeling this profoundly the first time I watched the movie, “A Beautiful Mind.” Russell Crowe’s portrayal of mental illness in that movie rocked me to my core. It scared me.
Despite the fact that my depression is currently under control, what if the darkness returns and overwhelms me? What if I, like hymnist/poet William Cowper, enter a darkened state that plagues me for the rest of my days? Or – what if I develop Alzheimer’s disease and degenerate into helpless forgetfulness?
Morbid, I know – but you’ve thought about it too, right? Come on, be honest – our minds wander into these dark places whether we want them to or not!
That’s why this reading from Charles Spurgeon’s classic devotional book, Morning and Evening, was such a comfort today:
“And I will remember my covenant.”
Mark the form of the promise. God does not say, “And when ye shall look upon the bow, and ye shall remember my covenant, then I will not destroy the earth,” but it is gloriously put, not upon our memory, which is fickle and frail, but upon God’s memory, which is infinite and immutable. “The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant.” Oh! it is not my remembering God, it is God’s remembering me which is the ground of my safety; it is not my laying hold of his covenant, but his covenant’s laying hold on me. Glory be to God! the whole of the bulwarks of salvation are secured by divine power, and even the minor towers, which we may imagine might have been left to man, are guarded by almighty strength. Even the remembrance of the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget, but our Lord cannot forget the saints whom he has graven on the palms of his hands. It is with us as with Israel in Egypt; the blood was upon the lintel and the two side-posts, but the Lord did not say, “When you see the blood I will pass over you,” but “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” My looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God’s looking to Jesus which secures my salvation and that of all his elect, since it is impossible for our God to look at Christ, our bleeding Surety, and then to be angry with us for sins already punished in him. No, it is not left with us even to be saved by remembering the covenant. There is no linsey-wolsey here–not a single thread of the creature mars the fabric. It is not of man, neither by man, but of the Lord alone. We should remember the covenant, and we shall do it, through divine grace; but the hinge of our safety does not hang there–it is God’s remembering us, not our remembering him; and hence the covenant is an everlasting covenant.
The book of Isaiah uses striking language to make a similar point:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15)
Even the bond, the memory, of a mother for her child may be broken. But God is way beyond these human limits. For which I am profoundly grateful.
I might, in fact, lose it. I might sink. I might forget. But my hope isn’t in MY remembering. It is in God’s infinite memory, and commitment, and power, and covenant. He alone is unfailing.
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