On this 2020 Memorial Day, let us remember not only those military service men and women who gave their lives in service to our country, but let us also remember the health care workers and first responders who are on the front lines of this pandemic. As they put their health and safety at risk to save others, may we honor their sacrifices and pray for their protection.
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.
Isaiah 46:9 – NIV
To remember. Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember. Sadly, most of us have forgotten that.
Memorial Day has become a holiday to celebrate the kick-off of summer. It is an extra day off work, a chance for a long weekend away. Its original purpose is too easily passed by.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “remember” as “have in or be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of (someone or something that one has seen, known, or experienced in the past.” To remember is to bring to mind an awareness of something or someone. In order to remember, we must give it thought. We must pay the matter some attention. We must stop and take notice.
Memorial Day is about remembering the fallen, honoring the sacrifices, paying tribute to those lost. It is about recognizing what others have done on our behalf, about what they were willing to sacrifice so that we would have the freedom to choose how we live. We owe our military men and women a great debt for their sacrifices in defending our nation’s freedom, and we owe an even greater debt to those who gave their lives responding to the call of duty.
There is another definition of “remember” that strikes me today. It states, “Used to emphasize the importance of something that has been asserted.” That definition brought four words to mind, “Remember the former things.” Those words open the powerful verse of Isaiah 46:9, that states, “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isaiah 46:9 – NIV).
Spoken through the prophet Isaiah, God is declaring His absolute sovereignty. He is emphasizing the power He asserts. He is God, and He is in control. There is none like Him. He is God alone.
But notice how He begins this declaration, by reminding His people to remember the former things, the things of long ago. God is pointing them toward the past, reminding them of how He led them through terrible trials, how He saved them from harm and set them free. By remembering, God is raising our awareness of His Power and His Presence. He is bringing to mind His unending faithfulness to us. By inviting us to remember, God is showing us that He can be trusted. By building an awareness of His Presence, God is strengthening us for the battles that lie ahead.
When we remember, we gain strength for the struggles ahead. As we honor the memory of those who have gone before, let us also honor our God who stands with us always. No matter what battles we face in this earthly life, His faithfulness can be trusted to bring us peace.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3 – NIV
O Lord God, we praise Your Holy Name. You are God, and there is none like You. In the midst of our daily struggles, help us remember Your faithfulness and Your continual Presence with us. Lord, thank You for those who in the past have sacrificed themselves for our freedom, and for those who put themselves at risk daily to keep us safe from harm. Be with our Armed Forces, our health care workers and our first responders as they diligently perform their duties. Keep us all in perfect peace as we place our trust in You.
In the Faithful Name of Jesus, we give thanks and pray,