Originally Published 04/08/2011
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds.”
Today, a dear friend of mine is celebrating with her husband, a job after a period of unemployment. She is rejoicing in God’s faithful provision, His heart so full to pour out blessings and to meet needs as we look to Him for help.
Today, I remember that same celebration happening in this home. God brought water forth from rock, something out of nothing, during months of unemployment. Then, the phone rang on a busy spring day and I stood motionless in the kitchen, keeping all children quiet, as my husband accepted a job—provision so perfect, timing just right. In that moment, a spotlight shone on God’s activity in our lives and we saw with unmistakable and rare clarity God at work.
Now, years later, I sometimes still remember to thank God for this job wrapped up in paper decorated with God’s handprints and topped with a bow showing off God’s grace.
I remember wanting so desperately to see God in the midst of our need, waking up in the still-dark hours of a frigid morning, leaving children and husband asleep, and driving to church in silence on Resurrection Day, when God forever declared His ability to bring life from death. Then, with fellow Christ-seekers, crowding around a rough wooden cross stuck into ground, singing a hymn, reading Scripture, watching the sun rise over the river. Hearing the pastor: “God knows why you have come here and what it is you are looking for. ” I caught my breath. God met me in the sunrise at a cross.
I flip through the pages of my journal from that time, each covered margin-to-margin with God’s promises, encouragements, and challenges—to trust Him, to stop whining and complaining, to be grateful, to know He is in control. It’s a record of my spiritual growth, tracked on paper like marks on a wall showing how tall I was then, and then, and then—a growth spurt caused by required dependence on a God so dependable.
I pull out my favorite pair of shoes, white and covered in colorful flowers, shoes I bought after my husband’s first paycheck at his new job. Bought on clearance at Target, they were inexpensive and yet totally precious to me. My “James-got-a-job shoes.” Every time I wear them . . . I remember.
Jennifer Rothschild wrote, “Remembering is a discipline that takes effort and focus.”
After all, I’m a forgetful creature. I walk into a room with an agenda, quickly get distracted by toys and books. Mess, mess–always mess. How do we make so much mess? So, I tidy and busy myself (while whining and complaining) and then leave the room empty handed. My original purpose long forgotten. What did I come in here for again?
I trek to the grocery store with one item I really and truly need and walk back out with ten items in my cart, none of them the one vital ingredient for tonight’s dinner.
I start sentences and then somewhere in the middle lose track of thoughts and words and trail off into silence.
Worrying at night over bills and forgetting past provision. Fretting over children and forgetting His past activity. Stressing over a decision and forgetting how He led me through dark and shadowy places before.
It’s an enigma really. Words spoken and things seen that I long to forget replay in my mind with troubling regularity. Life necessities and God’s promises that I simply must remember, I forget with ease and . . . troubling regularity.
I’m not alone. Over and over, in broken record style, God told the Israelites to remember what He had done, to recollect the miracles of their past, and over and over they forgot. He tells them, “You have forgotten God your Savior. You have not remembered the Rock, your fortress” (Isaiah 17:10, NIV).
They tried, really tried. Joshua commanded 12 men from 12 tribes to hoist 12 stones from the dry bed of the Jordan River onto their shoulders, carrying reminders of a miracle as the nation crossed through. Stone memorials to
“be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:5-7, NIV).
My special shoes are the same (I prefer my shoes to large river rocks!). Physical reminders of a God-intervention. A sign on my life-road saying, “God at Work!”
Ann Voskamp wrote this week about this world breaking us apart. Chips, broken pieces and cracks in our soul made by the daily and the difficult. Kids fighting. Bills due. Sick husband. Dying mother. Lost mail. No job. Shattered relationship. Wandering child. Missed appointment. Trust destroyed. Marriage dead. Dinner ruined.
The world chips and chips away at us. “It never stops dis-membering” (Voskamp).
In the Psalms, David sometimes talked to himself. He bossed his emotions around a bit and told his mind and soul what to do. He said, “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV).
And so today, I am commanding my soul to remember. Not just the broken and chipped me, made less by the world’s incessant bullying.
No, “all that is within me,” altogether me, every bit of brokenness restored and made whole. As Ann Voskamp said, I am re-membered and re-collected through forgetting not. It’s a discipline and a choice to live the here and now in view of past blessings and provision.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King