Watch the news…read the newspaper…go online…and one thing you will notice – news stories come and go! What was news today is quickly overshadowed by tomorrow’s news. The headlines change quickly, and the “big” story is soon forgotten.
Kind of like MH370. You remember, don’t you? That’s the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared somewhere, probably in the Indian Ocean, in March of 2014. Big news, huge news, captivating, it seemed, everyone. Since then, however, new news has taken its place in the headlines. New stories have gripped the world.
But MH370 has not been forgotten. Searchers have continued to scour the ocean for signs of the missing aircraft. On the other side of the world, literally as we have slept, ships and planes have searched. Forgotten by the headlines, but not forgotten by all.
Now, however, Australia, the country with the primary responsibility for the search, says that the search could come to an end in early 2016. And then, MH370 could really be forgotten! What happens when people who are lost, are no longer sought? In short, it may be time for the world to move on without them.
Kind of a cold, eerie feeling, don’t you think?
Maybe, but this wouldn’t be the first time. As the search for MH370 has carried on, other wrecks have been discovered. Others who were lost, perhaps sought for, and in time, left behind as the world moved ahead without them.
Perhaps the most poignant example is the slave ship that was discovered last week, wrecked off the coast of Africa. This was the first wrecked slaver that has been discovered, but hardly the only one that was ever lost. Think it’s eerie to imagine the passengers of MH370 being forgotten? What about slaves, people who didn’t even have names in the manifest, lost in a wreck, never sought, and forever lost? Not even members of anyone’s family tree of generations past. That’s really “left behind!”
Of course, that might be me someday. Who is to say that my daughter’s children’s children will remember me? And even if they do, will I be anything more than a name to them?
But being forgotten can happen a lot sooner than years after my death. Maybe right here, right now, I might feel forgotten and overlooked by a world that is zipping by. In fact, it happens all the time!
Sometimes it’s the folk in the nursing home, who look out the window and see a world that is moving, shaking, and going places. New things are happening that are strange and overwhelming. And they sense that they are quickly left behind and forgotten.
Or it’s the young person, maybe a student, who seems overwhelmed by school work, yet doesn’t see anyone who cares.
Or the parent who struggles to cope with a child, yet sees other parents as having no problems, concluding that no one would understand, and no one would care.
Or the widow living alone…the single, never married who never found the right person…the recently unemployed, or the gainfully employed, but feeling trapped in a job that is no longer rewarding…
All sorts of folk can begin to overwhelmed, alone, forgotten, and left behind. Maybe even by God.
But God does not forget!
There is an interesting twist to a familiar story – the story of Noah’s Ark. You know the story – God commands Noah to build an ark, collect all the animals of the world (in pairs), and then God floods the earth to destroy the wicked, yet keeps Noah, his family, and the animals alive, to begin the world anew.
The story, however, has a bit of a twist, right in the middle. Moses faithfully carries out his mission, gathers his family and the animals on the ark, and then the rains fall, and, we are told in Genesis 7:24, “the waters swelled on the earth for 150 days.”
Water everywhere, no other life to be found, and no apparent future. Little reason for hope. Can you imagine the impact of all those rainy days on people cooped up in a boat, and no land to be seen?
Yet, the story is not finished. Genesis 8:1 reads, “But God remembered Noah…”
God remembered! God did not forget, God did not leave behind, God did not abandon. God remembered, God acted, and God renewed life.
Just like God remembers you and me. We are remembered, never forgotten, by the God who created us, who claimed us in baptism, and who dared to send Jesus for our sake. God has paid a price for us – we are of value – and God isn’t about to throw away that for which a high price has been paid!
God remembers us, God acts for us, and God renews our life. In a world that overwhelms quickly, that forgets easily, and that overlooks frequently, we are not forgotten and we are not left behind. God remains by our side in Jesus, and God continues to nurture and sustain us. Even when we seem to be very alone.
And even when we seem to be nameless and meaningless. For somewhere, wherever the passengers and crew of MH370 are, they are not forgotten by a God of life and love. Neither were slaves on a lost slaver. Or even you or me.
God knows you, God embraces, God holds you. For eternity!