In my read-through-the-Bible plan I am currently in Deuteronomy. God gives rules and regulations for living and worshipping, but one command that’s repeated over and over is “Remember.”
God is prescribing certain practices for His people so they will not forget Him. He wants them to remember how He brought them out of slavery in Egypt with His mighty hand and outstretched arm. He wants them to remember how He provided for them with water from the rock and manna raining down each morning. They grumbled and complained, but He was faithful to keep them and bring them into the Promised Land.
He put festivals and holidays in place to ensure they didn’t forget.
And I heard the Lord whispering the same to me: “Remember.”
Yesterday our pastor referenced this admonition from my favorite book, James:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.James 1:2-5 NIV
How many times has He provided wisdom when I’ve asked for it? When He’s given me kind, gracious words to speak instead of angry, inflammatory ones? How many times have I seen the fruit of persevering through a tough situation? When I’ve done something begrudgingly and then received blessing? I have chosen to be thankful in hard things and then later seen the good that the Lord was accomplishing.
Because this is what I’ve asked the Lord to do, to help me persevere. To help me grow in maturity, to change me and make me more like Christ. Isn’t that ultimately what we all want? So let’s recall the victories He’s given, how far we have come, and rejoice in that.
But, I forget.
But how easily I forget when I look at my circumstances. I’m so frustrated right now with my parents. They refuse to do what I believe is best for them. My father has changed his mind multiple times about their living situation. He’s been told he doesn’t have much time left, and I feel a sense of urgency to get them settled. I keep asking the Lord to guide my father’s mind and heart, and that I would react well no matter what happens.
But in my frustration, stress and sorrow over this situation, I’ve been forgetting. Forgetting how good God is. I’ve forgotten His mighty power, His control over all things. How He loves me and also loves my parents. I’ve forgotten how He has miraculously provided in the past. I must not forget how He has promised to be near, to provide all that we need.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV
And this is certainly not the worst trial I’ve endured in my lifetime. There have been others far more difficult and painful! And others have suffered in ways I can’t imagine.
Yesterday I was talking with a friend who has gone through terrible loss and grief. Somehow she’s still smiling, still praising and serving Jesus. How did the Lord comfort and sustain her through that time? I don’t know, but I know for sure that He did. There’s fruit in her life that proves it!
God has been faithful to all of us, time and time again. We’ve been comforted by His promises, His people and His Spirit. Let’s not forget, but choose to remember.