Hannah L Stone

this is where I write the light

Forgetful – Part 2


Psalm 103

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

Again looking at Psalm 103 King David starts of blessing God. Remembering truths about God to keep his soul in a posture of blessing, giving thanks. Then in verse 12 he writes, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Transgressions, wrongdoings, sins. They are taken from us and flung as far as the east is from the west.

I heard Casting Crown’s song East to West on the radio yesterday morning. It is what started all this thinking on being forgetful. Here is the first verse of the song.

Here I am, Lord, and I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don’t want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west

That first line really jarred me. And I kept turning that one phrase over and over in my mind, “I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness.”

A long time ago I used to be a lifeguard. The job is in the title – guard life, keep it alive, keep a person from drowning. Generally speaking, drowning is a bad thing.  Not something you want to do.

As the song kept playing I kept thinking about that line, “I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness.”

Maybe this drowning is a good thing.

What is the opposite of drowning? Swimming, right? Swimming is active. I am doing something. I am moving through the water. I’m alive. Which, generally speaking, being alive is a good thing. But maybe I could be swimming in the wrong direction.  Or swimming for the wrong reasons.

The song kept playing, I was still thinking when I heard these lines…

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in…

There is that word again – drowned. This time though it’s not the singer who is drowning.  It is the truths of God that are being drowned out by life. The water thrashing all around pushing the truths of God further away, further down. You can’t see them. You forget them.

My mind is swirling with the images of me drowning in a sea of God’s forgetfulness and then the image of an endless reminding of my sins causing the waters to churn and God’s truth to be drowned.

Then I start to realize that maybe this storm that is causing the waters to churn and God’s truths to be forgotten is me thrashing in the water. Where does the endless reminders of my sins come from? Lots of times they come from my memory. Satan brings sin reminders back to my mind and tries to wound me all over again with them. And when he does this those sin reminders are what I’m looking at, what I’m keeping in front of my eyes. What I am desperately clinging to, thrashing the water as I go.

In lifeguard training we had to tread water holding a brick over our heads and your chin couldn’t touch the water. It was an exercise in strength, endurance.

When Satan whispers those endless reminders of my sins and my memory goes back to whatever that is. It’s like I grab that brick of sin and I hold on to it and tread the water. It’s my focus. I am remembering sin and holding on to it.  Clutching that brick of sin I struggle to keep my chin from touching the water under the weight of it.  Struggle to keep myself from going under; drowning.

The truths of God are drowned out in my treading water because I am focusing on the wrong thing.

When what needs to drown is me.

Colossians 3:1-11
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

If I let go of that brick and stop treading water and let myself be immersed in the sea of God’s forgetfulness I will finally live. I need to put to death what is earthly inside of me. Sins. I need to stop remembering, holding on to, killing myself over the memory of sins.

Because God’s forgetfulness is amazing.

King Hezekiah prays this to God in Isaiah 38:17
17 Behold, it was for my welfare
that I had great bitterness;
but in love you have delivered my life
from the pit of destruction,
for you have cast all my sins
behind your back.

God puts our sins; all of them, yes, even that ugly one, behind His back. He can’t see them. He doesn’t remember them. He doesn’t bring them back to torment us with them. On the cross, He stretched his arms as wide as east is from the west and he bled, he died, and then he rose again to grant us freedom, forgiveness, and His astoundingly merciful sea of forgetfulness.

The picture at the beginning of these two posts is of that of the forget-me-not flower. This morning I had the image of there being offered to me two bouquets of these forget-me-not flowers.

On one side there is Satan who longs for me to take his offered bouquet of forget-not-my-sins. It keeps me thrashing in the waters, regretting, reliving, remorseful. It keeps me dead to the life giving truths of God.

On the other side is God who offers the sweet bouquet of forget-not-His-benefits that lead to life. The kind where I can dive head first into His sea of forgetfulness and be drowned in it. Where I sink deeper and deeper into his measureless grace and truths. Ones that tell me to put off my old self, where I was a slave to sin, the one where I was treading water holding a brick over my head. And to put on the new self. A sea of God’s forgetfulness where it is truth, not lies, that are in front of my face. A sea of forgetfulness where I can drown in the truths of God and where I actually remember truths that make me thank him all the more.

Don’t forget that God forgives all your wicked acts.
Don’t forget that God heals your diseases.
Don’t forget that God snatched you out of the pit.
Don’t forget that God heaps you with love and mercy.
Don’t forget that God satisfies you with good so you can carry on.

It’s that kind of remembering that I need.  That kind of purposeful, intent remembering.

A constant drowning in order to live.

And so I wonder, which bouquet are you swimming toward?

{image not mine}


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