When I was a kid, about 10 years old, as far as I can remember, my neighbor and best friend Linda was going to a group at a church. While I thought I would never forget, I find that the ravages of time are proving me wrong on that, and I don’t remember what the group was called. I do remember that we often had the childhood version of an highly intellectual debate over which group was better, her group or Girl Scouts. (“My group is better.” “No, mine is.” “No, mine is.” No, MINE is.” “NO, MINE is.”)
Anyway, I went with her one time as a visitor. I was reluctant as it was held in a church, but went because she was my best friend. Many of the activities were similar to Girl Scouts, until… “Okay everyone, get out your Bibles…” What? Bible? I don’t have a Bible. What do we have to do with a Bible? “It’s time for Scripture memorization.” WHAT!? What do you mean I have to memorize something from the Bible!?
Yep, that’s right. Everyone had to memorize a verse – right then and there – and recite it to the group. Wow. Right there, I knew Girl Scouts was better!!! But I was stuck. I had no choice but to comply. So, someone loaned me a Bible and I flipped through the pages. I sort of remember my thought process, looking for something short and easy to remember, but not embarrassingly short. I was, after all, a guest, representing my friend Linda. And so, I memorized a verse.
Thirty five years later, as a new seeker, not yet committed in my heart to follow Jesus, not really sure of anything going on in my life at the time, but knowing that I’m at a breaking point and something’s got to change ‘cuz life as I know it is NOT working. So, I start reading the Bible. And I get to Matthew 16:16, memorized, but long since forgotten, planted, laying dormant in the ground for decades, ’til one day it bursts forth, having been watered and tended beneath the surface for all this time.
“And Simon Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.””
As I read that morning, some 35 years or so after memorizing that verse, it all came back to me. I remembered the frustration of having to do the memorization. I remembered the oddly satisfied feeling that I didn’t understand while I was doing it. And I remembered the thrilling rush when I accomplished the task that I did not want to do. And I realized the Glory of God, that day, as I thought about the planning to get me set up for just this point in time, when I would do all this remembering. And I realized that God really does think about me and care for me, and work for my good at all times, even in the games of ten year olds, and the debate about Girl Scouts or whatever.