SOME THINGS I CAN’T FORGET                                                                                              Andy Hollifield 11-16-18

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; (KJV)

I am too young to lose my mind. At least I used to think I was. I am still relatively young at fifty-three, but it is surprising how bad my memory has gotten in a relatively short time. I am now at the point where not only do I walk into a room and forget what I went in for, but I can open a cabinet door and forget what I am looking for.

I was reading an old post I had written on this date in 2016 and also one from this date in 2017. They were both surprisingly similar. The first was a story I recalled of a time when God used a phone call from a friend to bring a special blessing my way on a Saturday morning probably thirty years ago. I remember it in detail like it was yesterday. The 2017 post was written about Joshua 4 when God parted the waters of the Jordan River and the Israelites passed through on dry ground while God held back the water in heaps. God told Joshua to have twelve chosen men to take a stone from where the priest’ feet stood in the middle of the river, and place them where they camped that night for a memorial of their crossing. He warned them against forgetting what God had done for them.

I began to think about some events in my life when God has done a work in my life or given a special blessing that I just can’t forget. No, I’ve not taken stones from a dry river during a flood, but I have seen some impossible situations that seemed hopeless made possible by God. Maybe that is why I love Deuteronomy 4:9, because I can’t forget some of the things my eyes have seen.

The most important of course is the night that Jesus saved me. I can recall it in detail and even events leading up to that night. That has been forty-five years ago this past October 2nd. The calendar reads exactly the same this year for the first time since 1973. I can remember the feeling I had while singing a song I had written to my wife during our wedding. I remember the fearful joy of the first moment I saw my son when he was laid into my arms. Joy because my life-long dream of being a parent was reality and fear because I realized for the first time I was clueless about being one. There are also several gut-wrenching heartaches that I don’t like to recall but can remember vividly as if they were yesterday. One I will mention  happened on Sunday morning December 31, 1995 after being told on Friday that we had lost our first child due to miscarriage. The only reason I mention it is because I had an appointment to preach that morning. I hadn’t ever cancelled an appointment in nine years of ministry and I wasn’t going to start that day. With my heart ripped out of me, I wasn’t sure how I would get through it. The subject of the message God gave me was simply “The grace of God.” What was unique about that time was that as I was preaching about grace that morning, God was giving me grace  in abundance that I hadn’t ever needed before. In the midst of the worst heartache of my life, God wrapped me in his arms for a little while and demonstrated in my life that same grace he had me preaching about. I can’t ever forget that morning and especially the presence of God.

I don’t think I will ever forget my good friend Danny Dyer. He was a radio DJ when I did a radio broadcast when I first started preaching. Danny was also blind. He would walk up to me right before I went on the air and lay his hand on me and pray for me. I wasn’t sure how to take it at first but I soon thrived on it and couldn’t wait for him to pray for me. He always told me that the thing he liked most about me was that I was real, his words, not mine. You have no idea what great encouragement that was for a young preacher there alone and clueless about what I was doing but trying to obey the Lord.

I can also remember the elderly folks at Stroupe’s Rest Home in Oteen, NC. I started out doing a nursing home service just a few weeks after announcing my calling to preach. I can remember that there were a lot of folks with advanced Alzheimer’s or dementia that couldn’t remember my name for thirty seconds. But I also remember those same people singing every word of Jesus Loves Me and Amazing Grace and never missing a lick. There were obviously some things they just couldn’t forget in their lives either. Let me say in closing that it sure is a pleasure to remember “Some Things I Can’t Forget.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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