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Lessons From Animals--"Forgotten"

"Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number."
Jeremiah 2:32

 

I had a mildly frustrating experience: on a trip to visit my parents, I failed to connect to their cats. What makes this particularly frustrating is that they used to be my cats.

One spring several years ago, while a student in college, I made the rash and unwise decision to smuggle a kitten into the dormitory. I named her Fe. A few days later I then made the rash and unwise decision to tell the Resident Director that I had smuggled a kitten into the dormitory. She let me keep the kitten until the end of the year, but firmly told me that in the fall there would be no more cats. Not this guy again...Fe and I had the summer together, and then I called in the favor that every young person in my position makes: I gave Fe to my folks.

Of course, Fe was still going to be "my" cat--this was only temporary, you see. Indeed, at the end of that year, I did take Fe back for the summer…until school started again (and back she went to my parents). And then, to complicate matters further, Fe had a litter of kittens--on Mother's Day, no less (definitely not the gift my mother was hoping for!). Of that litter, one was chosen to stay--Fe's daughter Kreme. And in time, the inevitable happened...Fe became my parents' cat.

Which wouldn't be so frustrating if she would just show a little appreciation. She used to be my cat! I fed her! I raised her! I made sure she had a good home! But now she doesn't even recognize me--when I come by, she and Kreme both run away. I am a stranger to them--they have forgotten me.

It's in this context that Hosea 11:1 - 4 becomes especially poignant, when God says:

 

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from Me…It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them."

 

Why do we forget what the Lord has done for us? One generation comes up, having seen the incredible works of God--and the next generation forgets. This happens time and again in Scripture. Judges 8:34 tells us, "They did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side." All too often we get caught up in the life around us, forgetting the past, and the path that brought us to where we are. But we are called to remember. Deuteronomy 8:18 encourages us to "remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today."

Sometimes we forget. Thankfully, God has not forgotten us. Like the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, he waits daily for His child to return. And when He catches that first glimpse of us on the horizon, He doesn't wait any longer--He runs to us, and welcomes us home.

 

In Christ,

 

--Pastor Dan

 

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