A large part of faith in Jesus Christ is assurance that he is there and always has been there for us. This means remembering.
It’s an uphill battle, remembering. Not only are dark forces working to weaken our mental agility with mind-numbing TV fare and internet sites, but our own mortal brains purposefully forget things every night in our sleep! I bet it takes you a few seconds to recall what you had for breakfast yesterday, let alone the quietly-answered prayer from the Holy Ghost you felt two years ago. Against such odds, what hope do we have?
You can try to develop a photographic memory. Or, you can write things down. I encourage the latter. A journal is an amazing memory-extending device, like a flash drive for your brain. You might wonder about the connection between journal-keeping and worshiping God, but it is a perfectly natural relationship. In fact, most of my journal consists of events in my life that have served to strengthen my faith. When I read entries from years ago, it amazes me how much of my life has been forgotten by the very mind that lived it.
President Henry B. Eyring, a counselor to the Prophet Thomas S. Monson, recently spoke on the importance of remembering:
“I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.” O Remember, Remember; Oct. 2007
We are commanded not just to recall what has happened to us in our lives, but to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.” (Moroni 10:3) This is one reason Mormons soak up family history stories. We can relive with admiration the great faith of and blessings dispensed upon the pioneers as they crossed the plains to Utah. It helps to believe in the gift of healing when you can point to an ancestor who had that ability. We can go back further and examine the righteous examples of the early Christian saints who lived by the words of Peter and Paul. And we all have a heritage leading back to Noah and Adam and Eve.
Many books of scriptures were originally journals of prophets replete with inspired writings. It would be impossible to remember the great words of Isaiah or Ezekiel or Paul if they had not been recorded with good old-fashioned pen and paper. Isn’t it conceivable that your own journal will influence future generations as well?
Throughout earth’s history, we can see the hand of God working in ordinary peoples’ lives. By recognizing and remembering His hand in your life, you will bolster your assurance that He is watching and helping you overcome your own trials. When He speaks to you, write these experiences down. If your faith in Christ begins to waver, your journal might be the thing that buoys you up, reminding you of that time He answered an important prayer.