Here’s a fun fact – most of history is forgotten and will be forgotten. Sure, we have plenty of historical facts, but put them up against the the entire span of humanity’s existence and think about how little we actually have been able to preserve.
We know the name and dates of “important” people of the past – and in some cases we know what they did. Or at least what the spin has become on what they did. Although the further back you go, the sketchier it gets.
Our own reality is that by the fourth generation after you, you will most likely be forgotten. Or at best just a picture or a note. You will not have any connection with that person and they won’t think of you in a personal way. You become just a footnote. And give it another generation or two and you won’t be remembered at all, unless someone has really good notes on family history.
I don’t think any of this is a bad thing. Sure, it’s sad, but really – how far back can you go in your own family to where you know the person in the past? How far back can you go that you know the stories about a person? If you can go back more than four generations, you’re probably in the minority. And going back every further is really impressive.
Think about this – considering we have a handful of people that are remembered in history (for any number of reasons), it is minuscule in comparison to the billions of people who have lived on this planet. Their lives are gone, forgotten to history.
But the good news is that’s ok. As Christians we believe that the only whose memory matters is God. God remembers us. We hear this when God shows up and says that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is not a God of the dead, but of the living. And in God, all are living, even those who have died. In other words, their memory is not dead. They are merely asleep and will be awoken at the resurrection.
Often we believe that our time in history is the most important time – just like all generations before us had the same belief and all generations after us will most likely have the same belief.
And for us, that may be true – at least in terms of our lives. But for God, it is not true. Every time is important. Which is why God remembers people and waits to resurrect all people at the end of time.
History may forget each one of us, but God doesn’t. And we should take comfort in that. It’s the most important memory that exists.