A Word About…Remembering

January 25, 2021

by Ken Jones

A few years ago now, our youngest son Simeon left home to attend Seattle Pacific University (SPU). Like countless parents who watch their kids step into the world and out from under wings of mom and dad, we had some not-too-uncommon concerns, I suppose.

My wife wondered about his eating enough fresh vegetables while he was away at college. And that perhaps he wouldn’t wear his winter coat and hat enough. The winters in Seattle can be wet and cold. Quite honestly, our concerns weren’t any greater than any other parent whose kid leaves home for college, I suppose. All parents have those gnawing concerns.

We drove him to the lovely campus and helped him settle in. Very early on the morning we were set to say goodbye to Simeon and return to our now-empty nest and home, I took a walk across the SPU campus all by myself. Simeon was about to begin his new chapter in life, and so were his mother and I. I wanted to spend some time alone, thinking about the poignancy of this day.

As I walked in that early morning fog, I noticed some buckeyes covering the ground. Round, deep mahogany brown in color, about the size of a chestnut. Every fall, the SPU campus is covered with them. I stopped my walk long enough to search the ground for just the right sized buckeye. And I put that buckeye in my pocket, as I resumed my journey.

Later that day, when the “moment” came—you know, that awkward moment when it’s time to get on the road, time to say goodbye, time to leave, to let go and cry—I took the buckeye out of my pocket and spoke earnestly to my youngest son:

“Sim,” I said, “I’m putting this buckeye in my pocket as a prayer reminder for you. I promise to carry it with me every day, for as long as you are away at school. And every time I put my hand in my pocket and touch this buckeye, I will think of you. And I will never think of you without praying for you.”

And Simeon said thank you. And we walked on.

An encouraging thought: While He was here among us, there was never a day that Jesus wasn’t thinking about you and me, and all the difficulties and challenges and temptations we face while attending the school of hard knocks. He didn’t worry, of course. He controls it all. But that didn’t keep Him from committing to pray for us until we finally finish our journey. He’s at the Father’s side interceding—praying day and night for us, His kids.

Want to know why I’m so sure He won’t forget to pray? Well, besides the fact that He’s God (and never forgets anything except my sin), while He was here on the campus of this earth, and just three days before He left to go home, He stooped down and picked something up that would remind Him. The old prophet saw the whole thing and wrote about it when he said, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16, NIV).

I like to imagine that those scars in the hands of Jesus are a reminder for me that He never forgets. And He never needs to be reminded. He’s talking to His Father today, about you. He’s praying today … for you. And He prays for us … all the time. Quite humbling, I think. The Great Physician, praying for healthcare professionals who, often, don’t feel so great.

Be encouraged today. He sees your journey. He knows your challenge. He’s praying. (And He doesn’t forget.)

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