I forget things all the time. It seems like throughout the day there are thousands of little things I’m supposed to be doing. I try really hard to remember everything I have to do off the top of my head, but when there are too many things to do; and I start to feel overwhelmed, I have to create a written to-do list. I know my brain is bound to forget to do something on it’s own, which is why I write it down.
It’s so easy for me to forget something when I don’t write it down.
I see this same thing happening with my students in class. As a teacher, I give them notes in order to prepare them for an assignment or test. Anytime they learn something new, or even through a review, I will have the students write it down. Why? Apparently, writing things down helps to remember information.
But what I have found through my to-do lists and observing my students is just because we write it down, it doesn’t mean we will remember.
I have written things down many times on a post-it note and have completely forgotten to do something, and my students forget the notes they have written as well.
For example, my students took notes on a lecture; they wrote them down; and then received an assignment applying the notes to their writing. The notes encompassed everything they would need in order to write the assignment. I had equipped them to be successful; all they needed to do was apply their knowledge to their writing.
The students began working on the assignment. Within minutes, students had questions. Some of them being: how do we make a thesis? What’s in an introduction? Do we need a transition at the start of a new body paragraph? These questions were easy answers. I could have very easily given them the answer to each question (and at times I did), but on this particular occasion, I told the students to look back at the notes.
I wanted them to figure out they knew the answers to the questions they were asking, they just needed to be confident in the notes they took, based off what they heard and read from the lecture.
I think we can all agree it would be easier for me to give the students the answers to their questions.
But are they really learning what it is I want them to learn?
Will they remember what they need to know for the test?
The answer is no.
If I’m constantly telling them the answers, then they are never remembering the information on their own; they aren’t really learning.
The same is true with God. He wants us to remember what He has taught us.
He’s given us this great book that holds all the answers. But how often do we look back at the “notes” from God?
Lately, I’ve been asking God questions He’s already answered. He’s already given me the notes to remember, but I forget to even look back.
Instead of running towards the Lord for answers, I found myself talking through my questions with a dear friend in the middle of a bridge (that’s her in the picture above). Her answers were good, but not fulfilling. I knew she was trying to remind me of Truth, but my heart was looking for an easy way out. In my heart, I thought talking to someone besides God would settle my wavering heart, but in reality I forgot the answers God spoke to me.
I. Forget. All. The. Time.
This past weekend, I was having one of these “forgetful” moments. What I really wanted was for God to repeat Himself to me–even if that was through a friend–but when that wasn’t satisfying, I went to God with the same questions He already answered.
I was frustrated because the “test” I felt like I was in (just like my students’ assignment) was difficult and I wanted the answers. I wanted God to simply repeat the answers to the questions. I didn’t want to look back at my notes–the Words He already spoke to me–because I wanted Him to tell me…again.
God is most certainly a teacher.
The “test” or “assignment” I felt like I was facing didn’t go away for a couple of days. To be quite honest, I was being pouty towards God. I knew He wasn’t giving me the answers and I felt like He was hiding something from me. It was almost like He was sitting at His teacher desk, and I had my test in hand saying, “God, I don’t remember what You said. Will you please help me with this? I’m confused. I’m frustrated. I need HELP!”
And God being the great teacher, looks me square in the eye, gently smiles, and waits. Doesn’t say anything but just waits.
That waiting to any student feels awkward and forever long.
We desperately want an answer to our question.
We want the easy way out.
We just want the test to be over.
That’s how I felt. I felt awkward. Time seemed to stop (literally days went by with God and I in this test) and I was just stuck in this rut of forgetfulness. Forgetting all that God had already taught me. I desperately wanted to hear from God because I knew He has all the right answers.
Just like any other teacher, after waiting, smiling, and looking straight into my eyes. God spoke: Rachel, look back at the notes.
It was in that moment, I took a breath.
Even though God spoke only those six words, it was so much more. Those six words turned into God saying: I want you to know you have the answers to the questions you’re asking. You need to be confident in the notes you took–they are My very words. I taught these lessons to prepare you for this exact moment. The whole time I was teaching, You wrote down My words, and you can use My “Notes” to guide you through this test. You can remember. Look back at the notes.
Look Back at the Notes.
I grabbed my Bible and my notebook and immediately started remembering all that God had taught me. I remembered.
With remembering God’s teachings, I felt my questions disappearing. I felt my body relax because I was no longer frustrated. I found my answer in remembering.
There’s a reason God calls us to remember all throughout Scripture; it’s because God knows we easily forget so He has set up different ways for us to remember all that He has taught us. God has called His people to “look back at the notes” in all generations.
The most common today is communion, or the Lord’s Supper. Before Jesus took on the penalty for sin, He established a way for His people to remember all that He taught here on earth (He knew we would forget). Luke recorded in chapter 22 verse 19, “And he [Jesus] took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'”
Jesus knew we needed to be reminded of the lessons He taught; that’s why He established a way to remember. He established a very real way for us to look back at the notes of His life and the reason why He came to earth.
Jesus knew on those really bad days when we were frustrated and confused, we needed something to look back on.
So when you find yourself frustrated, full of questions, and confused–do you forget all that God has done for you? Do you forget God’s very teachings? Or do you live a life remembering all that God has done?