God has not forgotten you.
At the risk of sounding like a scratched record (and I have plenty of those, as Alise will tell you), I want to return to Monday’s theme, from a different angle. You are not forgotten.
The world is a big and confusing place, and our current news headlines only serve to reinforce that. It’s all ‘big stuff’ – wars, climate change, pandemic… It’s all incredibly important, and we need to know about it. But it only serves to reinforce how small we are.
Most of us have laughed over the years at some of the stories you would find in the local press, but I believe the recent dramatic decline of local newspapers has had one very significant negative: for all that we might mock stories about blocked drains, cats up trees and wobbly bus shelters, it reminds us that our world is full of individuals – mostly ordinary people like you and me. People that we might even know. In effect, we were part of the news, we were part of the story.
We might not feel much part of any news story now. But we are still part of God’s story. It is a comfort to know that even King David sometimes felt like a nobody, surrounded by bigger forces and troubles. Psalm 25 is David’s heartfelt response: ‘In you, O lord, I put my trust…. No-one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.’ (v1, v3)
At the heart of the psalm is a plea for remembrance: ‘According to your love, remember me, for you, O Lord, are good.’ (v7) God remembers because he loves. He remembers David – and he remembers us.
Interestingly David also asks God to forget something – ‘the sins of his youth’ (v7). Or rather, to remember it no more: in other words, God consciously chooses not to remember the bad stuff in our lives, once we ask him to forgive it. Instead, he remembers mercy, the mercy which God has always possessed ‘from of old’ (v6).
I suspect some of us might echo the words of v16-17 as our prayer for today: ‘Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.’ It’s a good prayer. One of the great comforts of our faith is that we can be honest with God. We don’t have to pretend to be happy or untroubled, for fear that God will squish us. The true validation of God’s parenthood in our lives is precisely that we can take our bad stuff to him, asking not just for forgiveness, but also protection (v20) and guidance (v4).
I’ll end as I started: God has not forgotten you. He remembers you, according to his love. Bring him your troubles, pour out your heart, and place your trust in him again. No-one who does that will ever be put to shame.