As a little girl, I remember the day I first met my Savior. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was a tomboy in spirit. Gaming it out on Ratchet and Clank at 2:30 a.m., my Dad gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.
From that moment, I dedicated myself to the sole pursuit of Christ and proclaiming His Gospel to the nations. While I grew out of the tomboy phase, my faith rose higher. No matter what circumstance, addiction, or illness came my way, I was committed to remembering who Christ was and still is to me.
But things change.
It sounds uncanny to say, but I believe that as Christians, we tend to develop spiritual amnesia more often than we’d like to admit. And if we aren’t careful, this religious memory loss can lead us down a deep road of hopelessness, despair, anxiety, and heartbreak.
When I started developing an unknown illness in May 2019, shortly after graduation, I never imagined my faith being tested like it now has. Over two years later of suffering, I only recently came to the recollection that I had mentally given up that I’d get better.
While I was still fighting physically to grow stronger in health, my mind was already checked out on the final destination of stagnancy. Did I truly believe my life would heal to that which it once was?
Do you want to live like this for the next 25 years? The Holy Spirit prompted me, piercing my heart to keep on fighting.
IBS-C and endometriosis are incurable illnesses; what makes you think you’ll get better? The Father of Lies called out to me, attempting to drag me away from the true Father’s hand.
Why have you suddenly forgotten the power of my name and who I say I am? The Holy Spirit pushed back in resiliency to the drowning thoughts.
Spiritual amnesia, I heard Satan laugh as if he’d hooked his latest victim.
A problem of the ages, The Holy Spirit comforted. And like the Israelites, I, too, will rescue you, my people.
The Israelite’s Spiritual Amnesia
In Exodus 33, God had recently delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and Pharaoh. After deliverance, however, God wanted to speak to Moses about a New Covenant He would make with His people.
Because the Israelites didn’t have the best track-record, they were known for their constant disobedience. Blaming Moses and God for every bump in the road, it was startling to see how a people group could with one breath blame God, and with the next pray to Him for rescue and deliverance.
By Chapter 33, God had called Moses to Mount Sinai, where he was given tablets written by God’s hand. “When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18, NIV).
Within this law, though, the importance was not solely on obedience but also on remembrance.
Exodus 24, nearly ten chapters prior, for instance, reaffirms this through the people’s cry to submission: “When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said…” (Exodus 24:3-4, NIV).
After Moses had been gone for a very long time, however, and was taking so long in coming down the mountain, our Israelite’s minds began to fail them. What once faithfully declared, “Thank you, Lord,” was heard in shatters of traitors and evil revelry.
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him” (Exodus 32:1, NIV).
Oh, how easily we contract spiritual amnesia when things don’t go our way or take longer than we anticipate. I wonder how many matters we take into our hands, only to watch God remove and unfold the mess we made for ourselves and had to pray our way out of due to disobedience.
The Israelites clearly knew it was God who rescued and delivered them from Egypt. Like a roller coaster, they would complain to Moses, and God would save them time and time again. But by Exodus 32:2-4, their overwhelming emotions created impending inaccurate facts of prudishness.
“Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
Did you catch it? Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Not God the Father and Yahweh who had split the Red Sea, but human-made idols of gold. And as much as we read this with utter disbelief, I am embarrassed to say that you and I do the same thing today.Without realizing it, how often do we beg the Aaron’s (support systems, leaders, advisors, parents, friends, etc.) in our lives to create idols (comforts, pleasures, goods, services, finances, etc.) for us when life gets tough? Click To Tweet
Without realizing it, how often do we beg the Aaron’s (support systems, leaders, advisors, parents, friends, etc.) in our lives to create idols (comforts, pleasures, goods, services, finances, etc.) for us when life gets tough? How frequently, then, do we act as Aaron and give the people what they want out of fear? Even more so, do you find yourself worshipping other gods because holy negligence has clouded your vision? What about giving up on dreams and healing because nothing is working or getting better?
While it is shaming to say in transparency, even I, myself, have fallen into this trap of forgetting the God who has rescued me timelessly for incomparable and deceiving vices. Externally, I’ve been trying to fight sickness in my body without using the source of life that’s already been invested deep into my soul.
And though I unintentionally developed this loss of consciousness, this loss of oneness with the one inside my bones, the idolatry of self leaves me the same as the Israelites of the Scriptures: broken, hopeless, anxious, depressed, and ridden with overwhelming scrupulosity.
Yet, it also leaves us with hope if we choose to allow our memory to be restored.
Restoring Our Memory
Because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, we no longer need a Moses or Aaron to go before God and beg for our forgiveness; He’s already freely given it to each of us.
Do not forget that our God is the same God who fought for the Israelites and freed them, even when they continued to abandon Him in the process.
When chaos, disease, and stress flood your life, allow not the spirit of fear to overtake your soul but remember and recall the Lord’s faithfulness through and through.
“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).
Instead, pray to the Holy Spirit in the moments that feel uncertain. Ask God to test and examine your heart, and forgive you for all the moments you’ve forgotten who He is and the power with which He’s empowered you to become who you are. Express praise and thanks to a God who still loves and pursues us even in the face of spiritual disobedience. Write down something you’re thankful for every day and receive the peace of a loving Father who looks over every single case of refined memory loss.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11).
Spiritual Amnesia is not a new concept, but it is one that will continue to plague the lives of nations until we set our sights on Him.
For at the end of the day, even when we’re faithless, He’s faithful.