Amnesia (especially retrograde amnesia) is a popular theme in movies. A character wakes up in a hospital bed. Doesn’t remember who he is, where he lives, where he grew up. Doesn’t remember his friends and family. Then his memory returns in sudden flashbacks.
I don’t know how realistic this is from a psychiatric standpoint. But it can make for good drama.
Dreams are somewhat analogous. In dreams we may not be conscious of who we are. We may find ourselves in strange places, surrounded by strangers. We don’t remember how to get home.
However, this does have a rough real-life counterpart. Those who suffer from progressive dementia begin to lose their memories. Forget where they are. Forget folks they used to know. Forget things that happened to them. The circle of people they remember gradually contracts. They may forget their spouse. Their children. They may even forget who they are. It’s sad to see people who are so lost. So disoriented.
They now depend on the memories of others. Others who remember them. Others who remember for them. Remember who they are. Their very identity is now in the repository of someone else’s mind.
And such is our relationship to God. God is like the friend who comes to the hospital to identify the amnesiac. Who takes him home. He must be his guide. He must remind him of who he is. Take him to familiar places. Reintroduce him to the life he used to know.
Without God we are utterly lost–even in this life. We don’t know who we are, where we came from, why we’re here, or where we’re headed. Like someone with dementia, we rely on God to remember us, on our behalf, as the custodian of our forgotten identity.