A dying woman inspired one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2008. Seven weeks before her death, Jeanne Clem (the wife of one of our pastors) told our church about her efforts to memorize scripture in her last days. Specifically, she was working on a portion of 2 Corinthians, which she recited for us:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (4:16-18) (click here to watch the interview).
I admit, guiltily, that I wondered why she was wasting her time memorizing scripture when she didn’t have much time left. I mean, once she got to heaven, she’d know it all anyway, and she didn’t have that long to wait. But, God slapped me upside the head (as he often does), and he reminded me that there might be value to knowing scripture by heart, even if you know it for a few days of your life, even if you know it for a few hours of your life.
I felt convicted.
Now that I recognize the value of memorizing scripture (thank you God for opening my eyes), I’m faced with some rather insurmountable looking obstacles. I have some confessions to make before you all.
I don’t know my cell phone number. I’ve had it for many months now, and I have no clue what it is. When people ask, I have to look it up. I don’t even recognize Dan’s cell phone number, so when he calls, I never know it’s him until I answer the call (so much for caller ID).
I don’t know the order of the books in the bible. When the pastor announces that we should turn to some obscure minor prophet, I either flip through the bible from Genesis to Revelation, hoping to see it as I skim by or give up and go right to the table of contents.
Memorization is an issue for me, and I don’t undertake this resolution lightly. I only have a handful of verses memorized, and even then, they’re mostly in French (a result of a wonderful French instructor who thought it was the best way to learn the language).
I recently tried to memorize the fruits of the spirit, and I got love, joy, and peace, but after that, it’s all a blur. I tried learning it via an annoying song I found on the internet, but now, all I remember is the tune, which is now permanently stuck in my head (click here to hear it, if you dare).
Because of my own weakness, I know that more than ever, I’ll need to rely on God’s strength to accomplish this resolution. God has impressed upon me the goal of memorizing the entire book of James, and I’m terrified about it.
To tell you the truth, I wanted to do what I always do, and memorize one or two verses, and call it good. But I know that this year, I’ve committed to taking more risks for God (click here to read my post about this).
God and I have been wrestling with this for awhile. I read James a month ago, and underlined half the book. He was telling me then that I needed to memorize it, but I didn’t want to hear it. He was more persistant these past few days, and I kept pushing him aside or reminding him how pathetic I am at memorizing things. I’d concede a few verses, or I’d agree to 5 verses, maybe even 10, if they were short. But God would keep pressing.
Finally, he reminded me of my resolution, and he also reminded me that my pride was keeping me from trying. I was too worried about failing.
So, he wins. I’m doing this his way. This year, I’m going to try to memorize an entire book of the bible. I’d appreciate a lot of prayer and more wonderful memorization advice from you all. I’m going to need it.