“If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’–you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.” ~Deuteronomy 7:17-18
Remembering. It seems like such an easy thing and yet how quickly we forget. We will be praising God one moment when all of a sudden the mountain gives way and we find ourselves spiraling downward until we’ve reached the darkest valley we’ve ever seen. Suddenly, we forget every good thing that our Father has done for us, and we go back to relying on our own strength to climb out of the pit until we realize that we are not able to do so, at which point we finally turn to Him again, and He graciously dusts us off and gives us the strength we need to continue the journey.
One of the differences between Moses and the Israelites was that Moses walked with God continually. He never lost sight of who God was and how He had moved on behalf of the Israelites to free them from bondage. The Israelites, however, were focused on themselves and their hardships. Instead of being thankful for what God had done, they only saw what they perceived to be lack.
Last night, I watched a Zoom meeting that brought together some of the recording artists who had come out of the Jesus Movement. Barry McGuire was talking about his life before Christ and how God saved him when another man spoke up and said that he didn’t have the testimony that most of the artists present did. He had grown up in a Christian home, and it sounds like he never strayed from that. He said that it was probably harder for him though because he thought he was fine since he didn’t do all the things that the “sinners” did (my paraphrase).
Regardless of whether or not you have a “past” or if you’ve lived an outwardly “clean” life, if you are God’s child, God has moved in your life in some way, and it’s important to never lose sight of that. Your experiences with God are part of what you need to teach your children when you “sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). They need to know why God is real to you. Remind them of what He has done for them.
I will be turning 50 this year, which has me doing a lot of reminiscing. There are memories that I would like to forget and yet they are a part of my story. They are a testimony to what God has done in my life. I expect that we are all composed of good, bad, and ugly, but with Christ, the good will outweigh the other two as we become more like Him.
Everything happens for a reason. We won’t always understand why. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus and His love for us, if we remember where He’s brought us from and where we are today (to quote from “It’s My Desire”), if we thank Him for choosing us to be His children instead of cursing Him for allowing hardship, I believe that our faith will continue to grow and we will be more effective witnesses to those around us.