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Yesterday was September 11…just 24 short hours ago. You may have said a prayer or had a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives or are currently fighting for our country as a result of that day, but then you likely went about your business as usual. We’re busy people with a lot of responsibility, and it’s sometimes easy to forget things, isn’t it? It is almost surreal to think that it has been sixteen years since our nation came under attack. A lot has happened in that time. Sixteen years…the longest conflict in which the United States has ever been involved. Sixteen years of sending our young men and women into harm’s way to protect the freedoms that we hold dear. As I was coming home one day from serving as a United States Army Reserve chaplain, I found myself talking to my three-year-old son about what I do. In doing so, I realized that many of the young men and women who are currently serving in places like Iraq (yes, we are still there), Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia were only three years old on September 11, 2001. Please continue to pray for those brave warriors of freedom.
All of us who are old enough to remember knows exactly what we were doing, who we were with, and where we were when those towers crumbled to the ground. We remember how hard it was to buy an American flag at any store because people proudly and boldly wanted to proclaim to the world that we stand united. And, for many of us, we found ourselves realizing that the world as we knew it had changed forever.
Now that we are sixteen years removed, what has changed? How does our nation differ from those early moments of reaction? What about the passion and pride that many of our people had in being called “an American”? Sadly, for many, those moments of unity, passion and conviction have dissipated or disappeared altogether. HAVE YOU ALREADY FORGOTTEN?
We are an interesting bunch… us humans. How forgetful we can be. My kids receive gifts on Christmas and birthdays that bring so much joy in the moment, but in a few days those same gifts are discarded and they want more. We are so thankful for that promotion at work, but in a few short days it becomes just that - work. We remember the kind acts of people one day, and forget them the following day. How quickly we can forget. We are quick to get excited but struggle to sustain joy.
As I was reading through the book of Judges and noting the theme of each chapter, I was reminded of this: there’s a constant need for God’s deliverance of his people. They forget, they suffer… and they repeat. As we read through that book (and many other Old Testament books) we ask ourselves, “How can they so quickly turn their backs on the Lord? How can they so quickly forget?”
Yet each time I read those passages and ponder those questions, the Holy Spirit often convicts me that I, too, quickly forget.
HAVE YOU ALREADY FORGOTTEN?
While writing to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2, Christ says to the church that they have lost their first love. While they were working hard for the Lord, they had lost their first love for him. How many of us today are in that same boat?
We read his Word from time to time, we pray to him when we feel we need him, but have we lost our first love?
My challenge to all of us is this: Have we already forgotten? Have we already forgotten the love, the peace, the joy that we felt when we first called out to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? His love has not changed; his character has not changed; only our hearts and priorities have. Have we already forgotten? Please join with me in prayer to shift our focus back to our first love – Jesus. Please join with me in putting all of our other distractions aside and once again making him our one true love.