One of my biggest challenges is worrying about things that are out of my control. For me, I think a big part of my tendency to worry is my tendency to forget – to forget all the times God has helped me in the past. I worry about whether my child will get into a special school program, forgetting how God has helped my children in the best. I worry about the cost of fixing our car, forgetting that God has helped us with our automobiles in the past. I worry about what appear to be crushing setbacks, forgetting that God has previously strengthened me to handle failure, and he will do so again.
One of my favorite illustrations of our tendency to forget comes from two miracles performed by the Savior in back-to-back chapters. In Matthew 14, Jesus Christ fed 5,000 men, plus women and children with only five loaves and two fishes. It was an astounding miracle! After seeing this, as well as Christ walking on the water, his followers said to him, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).
In the very next chapter, 4,000 men, plus women and children were listening to Christ. The Savior said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way” (Matthew 15:32). You would think that the disciples would say, “Sounds great Lord, we would love to see you do another miracle,” but instead they respond, “Where will get enough bread to feed so many people?” (see Matthew 15:33).
“What?” We might say. “Have you already forgotten the previous miracle? Don’t you remember the 5,000? Surely the Lord can feed 4,000!” But the disciples seem to have forgotten that the Savior’s power is more than enough. Partly because the disciples’ reaction seems so incongruous, some people believe that the feedings of the 5,000 and 4,000 are simply two versions of the same event. Or maybe the disciples remembered the miracle but did not want it to appear that they were expecting it. Given my own experience with forgetting the miracles God has done for me, I think it’s also possible that the disciples, like me, didn’t deeply remember the miracle Christ had previously performed. They might have cognitively remembered it, but they had not engraved it in their hearts.
How can we remember the miracles God has done for us? One simple approach is to write them down. I suggest starting with a bullet-point list of miracles you’ve experienced in your life, I’ll discuss this more in a future post, but even writing a few words about miracles we’ve seen can help jog our memories in the future when need assurance that God has helped us before. Quick statements like, “Seeing the McGee family sealed in the temple,” or “Finding housing in Boston,” remind me of important miracles in my life. Take a few minutes today and write down (in very brief form) a couple of the miracles you’ve seen!