The pandemic we are living through is history in the making. Stories will be told decades from now, about how this changed everything, how it altered the course of governments, businesses, individuals and families. Yet in the middle of it all, I’m struck by how important remembering the past is, how important it is that we “remember to remember” amidst COVID-19. Our personal and collective histories are critical to how we navigate these crazy days.
Have you noticed people are suddenly interested in past disasters, like the 1918 Flu, ebola, polio, and the Black Death? And the media is reaching back into history, too, to remind us how past recessions, depressions, pandemics, and political battles unfolded, trying to offer some connective tissue for our context. It’s like we instinctively know we need something solid from our past to give us some semblance of certainty and sanity in the present, and hope for the future. Here’s why.
Remembering the past reminds us to hope.
As a friend of mine said recently, “Every day seems like ‘Blurs-Day’ to me!” It’s easy to lose sight of the past when we’re disoriented in the present. History tells us where we came from, who we are, why we’re here, and what we have to do. That’s why remembering our past is so crucial in our present, and especially in the angst and uncertainty of this pandemic.
History tells us where we came from, who we are, why we’re here, and what we have to do.
Nobody understands this better than the God who created us. Words translated as some form of “remember” show up hundreds of times in the Bible. God often models “remembering” for us by turning His attention to someone in need and helping them.
He remembered Noah and his family after they drifted for months in the ark, recalling their faithful obedience to prepare for the flood, and He made the flood recede. He remembered Abraham’s prayers for his family and delivered Lot from a doomed city. He remembered women who longed for children like Rachel and Hannah, and He created new life in their families.
Remembering the past points us toward God.
But most of the Bible’s comments about remembering are directed to us, impressing on us the importance of remembering the past. God makes it clear that remembering is not just a nostalgic impulse for fun but a vital discipline for life.
Over and over again, God tells us to remember things. Here are just some of the things we’re charged to remember—and should remember amidst COVID-19.
- Remember specific stories, personal (like that much-needed job you got five years ago) and historic (like the Hebrews exodus from Egypt), of how faithful God is to deliver, to provide, and to protect.
- Remember He is always near and will not abandon us (even when we fear He has).
- Remember He is our hope.
- Remember He works out everything, even the bad things, for the ultimate good.
- Remember He values us and gives our lives dignity and meaning, because He created us.
- Remember He is wise, loving, and completely worthy of our trust.
- Remember the gift He gives in your spouse. My wife is not just the woman I “won over.” She is a gift from God.
- Remember that each precious child, who runs us up a wall at times, is His gift and blessing to us.
- Remember the sacrificial love of His Son in the bread and cup of communion.
- Remember He is the source of all we have: every morsel we eat, every minute of life we live, every good health report, every roof we’ve ever found shelter under.
- Every good and perfect gift is from Him. Remember that!
We have to keep remembering to remember Him, our history with Him, and the histories of others with Him. That helps us to have hope, to have calm in the storm, and to love our families well. Never forget to remember.
What brings you the most hope in uncertain times? Share in a comment below.