Memorial Day weekend is, by definition, a time for remembering—remembering sacrifice, service, and devotion. For the fans gathered at the Brickyard for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 yesterday, it was not just about remembering. Actually there was something pretty hard to forget. No one watching last year’s 500 would forget the last-lap pass that saw Dan Wheldon win his second Indy 500. Even more, however, no one could forget why that win would be the last of Wheldon’s career: Five months after the Indy race, Wheldon’s car went airborne and crashed into the fence while racing in the Indy Car Racing League event at Las Vegas. Nor could they ever forget the subsequent announcement that one of open-wheel racing’s most successful drivers had been killed in that crash. Watching the Indianapolis 500 without Dan Wheldon participating in it made all those sad memories pretty hard to forget.
In the dark seasons of life, when tragedy and heartache visit us and define our experience, it can be far too easy to forget that God has not forgotten us. We can quickly lose sight of all that our God has done for us and all that He has given us in Christ. It was just this danger—the danger of forgetting—that may have been behind the challenge the psalmist gave to the people of his generation. David wrote: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
It seems that while some things in life are hard to forget, some of the most important things in life are the first to be forgotten when hard times come. The two verbs in this statement are active, requiring a measure of intentionality. “Bless” and “forget not” are not things we merely fall into. They are patterns of life, heart, thinking, and attitude that must be pursued, cultivated, and developed. When the pains of life are hard to forget, we must work to remember the grace and provision of the Father. He and His goodness are always worth remembering.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain