12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?
The Spirit has me thinking about all those who are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia – those we would describe as living in ‘the land of forgetfulness.’
And I’m thinking of those I know personally who for all intents and purposes did not know God before the brain cells began to darken and die. Who did not cry out or need God to save them from anything. Who lived life up to this point not worshiping the Creator but the creature, as Paul distinguished – and lived it well, by creature-world-view standards.
And I am momentarily saddened. Doesn’t God live and permeate every space of His creation including the ‘land of forgetfulness?’ But if so, how can He possibly save someone who’s brain function is so compromised at this late point in their life that they have no capacity for memory let alone tracking a biblical storyline? Who don’t now and never did have even an awareness of needing to be saved by anything, let alone God? Now in the land of forgetfulness, are they lost forever?
With that sad whisper the psalm ushered into my morning thoughts, I moved forward with the readings with a sense of hopelessness, wondering really if it is even possible for those in the land of forgetfulness to ever know God. And as the Spirit kept at me, kept that question before me, I land in the Gospel.
And in the Gospel reading, the troubling lament of the Hebrew psalmist is trumped and the Spirit reminds my saddened heart,
14So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
God is forever and always searching for the lost. We look at someone who has lost their memory and think they are lost, forever. But God is different.
First, God is always looking. And second, He looks at their hearts – not their minds. Their hearts! I can’t see someone’s heart…but I can feel it and in the case of those I love who are suffering from dementia-like disease, I feel love.
And finally, only God knows when and how to find the lost to bring them back to His flock. Like the photo here, the lost sheep stands alone nearing a precipice that it, itself, seems to have no awareness of. But God does. God sees. God knows.
In this I have some comfort. Letting God do the work only God can do and not fretting that those I love who have ended up in the land of forgetfulness have been for one moment forgotten by God our Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Or lost.