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  • Writer's picturePastor Joe

The God Who Remembers

by Pastor Joe Garofalo

“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8

It’s funny. How many of us have done things that we hope God forgets? I’m going to go out on a limb when I say that’s pretty much all of us. Thankfully, when it comes to our sin, He doesn’t remember. In fact, there are so many verses in both Old and New Testaments which state this truth, that it was hard just coming up with one. Here’s just a few:

Hebrews 8:12, 10:17; Isaiah 43:25, 44:22; Jeremiah 31:34; Acts 3:19; Micah 7:19.

(As a Bible study, I recommend checking these verses out, plus finding additional ones.)

However, one that resonates with me is Psalm 103:11,

“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

The phrase “as far as the east is from the west” is meant to communicate in infinite space. East is in one direction, and west is in the other. This is different from north and south—you can travel north only so far (to the geographic north pole) before being forced to travel south; so north and south meet at the poles. But east and west never meet; no matter how far you travel east, you will never reach a point at which your next step must be westward. Therefore, God in His wisdom did not say, “As far as north from south”; rather, He said, “As far as east is from the west.”

The idea is, when God forgives, He really forgives. Our sins have been removed from us as far as is possible to imagine. It is a statement of complete and utter forgiveness. Once our sins have been removed, we will never be held accountable for them. They will never come back to haunt us. Praise God! But what does all this have to do with Psalm 56:8?

Well, while there are things we hope God forgets, there are things we hope God remembers. Namely, our sufferings and our tears. This verse tells us that the Lord takes note of all our sadness and all our pain – of all our tossings and weariness. He keeps account of every tear that flows from our eyes and all the silent groans of our hurting hearts. This verse also tells us that He has placed each single tear in His bottle of remembrance and recorded each hurt in His book!

Easter season is an opportune time to consider how our Lord suffered torment and death for our sins to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:8); and by His resurrection defeated sin and death. And because He Himself suffered, we have a God who is aware of everything that causes His children pain. As we, like our our Lord Jesus, gain a closer intimacy with our Father through the things that we suffer in obedience to His will (Hebrews 5:8).

Because of His mercy, our God forgets. Because of His grace, our God remembers. Praise Him indeed this Easter and always! 

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