I keep lots of list. If I don't, I forget about things. I have separate lists for each of the efforts I'm involved in....personal stuff at home, church ministry stuff, overall camp stuff, high school camp stuff, baccalaureate, 3SLI, etc. It helps me stay organized and for the most part (feel free to comment with the exception) it prevents me from forgetting about stuff I need to get done.
I was reading through Paul's letter to the Corinthians this morning and came across chapter 10:1-5 (NASB) which says, "For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea; and they all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and they all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased; for their dead bodies were spread out in the wilderness."
Paul was writing this letter to those Christians gathered in the city of Corinth who had perhaps gotten distracted by the pursuit of "evil things" (see verse 6). He was reminding them of their forefathers (the Israelites) who had also chased "evil things" despite the fact that God has provided so much for them.
Despite all of these provisions verse 5 is crystal clear, "Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased; for their dead bodies were spread out in the wilderness." That's rough. Why would the Israelites still chase "evil things" even when God had so clearly provided for them every step of the way? From the outside looking in, it's somewhat easy for you and I to pinpoint the error of their ways and from a place of hindsight clearly identify what went wrong. From this vantage point, it's easy to see how God had provided for them and guided them all along their journey but somehow they missed it. Did they feel alone? Did they feel as though God wasn't hearing their cries for help? Did they feel invisible? Why did they feel as though they had to forget their own future?
We know now that none of that is true because we have the record of God's provision, His Word! But perhaps in the moment the Israelites would have benefited from a real-time record for themselves. Maybe when the first person started grumbling and complaining, no one spoke up and reminded the group of God's faithfulness or maybe like us, when they got caught up in the moment they allowed the pressures of life to blur their minds and convince them they were all alone. It's clear that the Israelites missed the mark and were "chasing evil" but I don't think it's because they were trying to. On the contrary, they missed the mark because they weren't trying to remember how faithful God had been to them.
When it comes to life in general, I'm convinced that I've forgotten far more than I remember. I think the same is true for my relationship with God. I've forgotten about all of the times He's protected me, all the times He's guided me, all the times He's heard me and responded, all the times He's answered my prayer, all the times He's calmed me down, all the times He's changed my heart, all the times He's been there when I've felt alone. He has never been unfaithful to me even when I've been unfaithful to Him. Remembering that fact helps change my appetite from the things of this world to the things of God. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.