We are blessed to live in a region full of beautiful conservation areas, and we have visited them all more than once. Although each one has its own unique beauty and charm, we have come up with a list of “favourites” over the years; and the conservation area we visited recently was definitely on that list. We had been there often in the past. In fact, our kids knew every inch of every trail, and we all had precious memories of picnicking around the trout pond or tossing pebbles in the crystal clear spring-fed pond that was only accessible via the system of trails.
Until recently however, it had been years since we had visited this particular conservation area. Why, you ask? Good question, especially since it is on our list of “favs”!
The answer is simple: We forgot about it!
How can it be that we forgot about one of our favourite conservation areas?
It’s hard to say, but things happen, we look for new places, we move on, the old becomes common, ordinary, and we tend to forget.
And this particular conservation area may have remained completely forgotten had it not been for a timely facebook post from one of my wife’s friends who posted beautiful autumn pictures she had taken there. Even then, when my wife mentioned it, I couldn’t remember which conservation area she was talking about. True enough, it could be my dementia-related memory loss; but more than that, I had simply forgotten the place existed. I was happy enough when my wife suggested a picnic there after my speech therapy. Although I had no idea where it was, I was sure I would enjoy it! And it actually wasn’t until we drove into the parking area that I began to remember… Yes… This was one of my favourite conservation areas! And as we hiked the once familiar trails, it all came back to me in wave upon wave of pleasant memories. Then I had to ask myself that “why” question… Why hadn’t we been here recently? How could I have forgotten such beauty?
As we were hiking to the spring-fed pond, my wife asked me what would be the subject of my next devotional. Although I generally struggle a bit with this particular question, the answer that day was immediately forthcoming: The forgotten splendour of this particular conservation area!
You see, this whole scenario helped me to remember something else, something of much higher value. It made me very aware of the fact that we, as humans, all tend to forget the special things in life. Take God’s blessings for example! We are all guilty of asking God for things, and when we receive them, most of us do praise Him for His goodness and love. Nonetheless, over time, we tend to forget what He has done for us. His blessings and miracles become commonplace, even ordinary. They become something that we come to expect, something that we feel we are entitled to. And like the conservation area, we tend to forget the splendour of God’s love for us.
The fact that we forgot about this particular conservation area didn’t cause us lasting harm. It robbed us of several years of enjoyment, perhaps; but it certainly wasn’t life-changing. Forgetting about God’s blessings, however, can have much more serious consequences. When we forget how God has provided for us in the past, we are much more prone to worry and fret. This leads to a myriad of physical and mental problems, as well as relationship breakdowns, etc. In addition, it works to erode our faith, our trust in the One who has done it for us before.
The Old Testament is full of rather interesting commands: “Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities…” (Deuteronomy 11:18-20 MSG). I’ve often wondered about this. I certainly don’t paint God’s blessings on my doorposts, nor do I tie them to my hands. Why would God command this of His people?
The next verse answers this question: “…so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that GOD promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:21 MSG). God wants us to remember His blessings. Not because we’ll miss out on beauty, but because He wants us to live a long life! And He wants this to be on the “soil” that He has promised us, the “soil” of utmost peace and certainty: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV).
What about you? Are there a few moments of “forgotten splendour” in your life? Times when God has intervened on your behalf in mighty ways, but over time, you’ve forgotten? If so, take a trip down memory lane. Meditate on each and every blessing of the Lord. Then, when the next set of bad circumstances comes along, you’ll remember what the Lord has done for you in the past, your faith will be strengthened, your stress will be minimized, and you will live long on the peace that God has given to you!
As we continued our hike in this particular conservation area, God impressed with me with couple more valuable lessons. Join us on Friday in two weeks for, “The Conservation Area, Part 2”!
In His love,
Director, Answer2Prayer Ministries