Friday, February 3, 2017

Remember the days

"Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me..."
Psalm 103:2

There's a meme floating around the interwebs with several variations that constantly appears and reappears in my news feed.  It simply says: remember the days when you prayed for what you have now.

What, as if we would forget?

Yes.  That.  Exactly as if.

We are apparently just as prone to forget as we are to wander - or rather, perhaps it is the forgetfulness is what leads to our wandering in the first place.

After all, isn't that what happened to the Israelites?  Their forgetfulness led to wandering... until their deaths.

By way of miracle after miracle, they had been delivered out of Egypt and out of four hundred years of slavery.  They were free people, on their way to the promised land.  God had fulfilled promise after promise to them.  They had witnessed miracles are unfathomable to us: the sea had parted to form a path for their feet, they were fed with provision that literally fell from the sky and were given water to drink from dry rocks - and yet, "they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord" (Psalm 106:25).   

They couldn't remember the days in which they had prayed for what they now had. 

And sometimes, in our own deserts in this life, neither can we. 

They were ready to throw it all away, to return to Egypt, to return to slavery.  They had forgotten what the Lord had done, how He had rescued them.  But, they had also forgotten what the Lord was still doing.  

They lost their way - and ultimately, they lost their promise.  

The same can happen to us, right here in this life, where the landscape along our path can change more often than the seasons.  There are mountains and still waters and green meadows, but we will walk through valleys, too - through deserts and wildernesses.  There, we will be tempted, not only to sin - but to forget.

Even  especially me.  Which is why probably why I have always felt God whisper to me: "write this down".  And so, I sift through boxes to find them, these journals, these prayers.  It was years ago now, but I need it to feel like yesterday all over again.  I need to remember the rescuing, the restoring, the redemption.  I need to remember and never forget.  

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, 
the bitterness and the gall... 
Yet this I call to mind 
and therefore I have hope:  
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, 
for his compassions never fail.  
Lamentations 3:19-22

 I wrote it all down, you know.  For years.  On the pages of this blog, on the pages of those journals.  The prayers that one day I would have everything that I have today: this marriage, this family, this home, this life.

And yet, here I am, just as prone to forget and consequently, wander - just like the Israelites.  

Yet I call this to mind.   

There, in the middle of remembering the affliction and the wandering, the author of Lamentations calls to mind the goodness of God, which yields hope.

And hope - isn't that the thing we're all after when we're in the dark moments of life, those black hole vertigos, spiraling out of control, the valleys and the deserts, the wildernesses.  It's in those places, these moments, we need to remember most - not only what he's done, but what he is still doing... fixing our eyes "not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor 4:18).

"Let all that I am praise the Lord;    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. 
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems my life from the pit
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies. 
He fills my life with good things.

Psalm 103:1-5

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