Remembering the forgotten God

Published 10:10 pm Friday, September 28, 2012

God is not dead, but we have forgotten Him. He is a distant foggy memory for many men.

If pressed as to their belief in God, a good majority of people assent to little more than the fact of the existence of some kind of God that exists somewhere out there beyond the horizon. He is neither distinct nor caring. He is little more than a misplaced notion or a quaint idea.

For others, the thought of God is more nagging than that. For them His memory is more like a thought they had in their minds and hoped to remember, but it vanished before they could ask their question or make a note of the thought.

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You’d like to remember God, but you just can’t seem to do it. So you move on saying to yourself, “It must not have been that important, since I can’t remember it.”

Most peculiar of all, is the poor memory of the church. The fact of the forgotten-ness of God in His church abounds in the programming of many of the churches in our land. A few years ago, with some reluctance, I ran along with the rest of the lemmings into doing a church-wide campaign based on the question “What would you do if you only had 30 days to live?”

By Chris Surber

The premise was valid. If we knew we had only 30 days to live, would we not value those 30 days more than normal, and if we lived as though every day was one of our last 30 days, then we would love more, take more appropriate risks, forgive more, and so on.

Since having participated in such a campaign I have had a nagging feeling that there was something about this and other similar well-intentioned campaigns that doesn’t set well within me.

I have finally defined that feeling. The trouble with these campaigns is that upon the removal of the Gospel from them they are altogether too usable. In other words, you don’t need God and you certainly don’t need Jesus to make it make sense that if we all lived as though this was one of our last 30 days we would live better lives.

You don’t even need religion of any kind for that. In fact, the Gospel that is actually found in the Bible gets in the way of that, because the Gospel demands as much as it gives.

Jesus tells those who labor and are heavy-laden to come to Him for rest. (Matthew 11:28) He also tells us that anyone who loves anything in this life more than Him isn’t worthy of Him. (Matthew 10:37)

The cost of discipleship of Jesus is terribly high. He doesn’t just want you to live better as though it was your last 30 days. He requires that you become a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1)

If memory serves me, my memory doesn’t always serve me. The only way to remember God is to decide daily that I will choose to live as though He exists, even if only on the slightest recollection that He may exist.

As Charles Fiske wrote a century ago in his book “The Experiment of Faith,”

“Whether I understand all or not, I am not going to forget Him any longer.”

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at