Rereading through my journals as the semester winds down, I am amazed at how many times “remember” or “don’t forget” show up between entries. And yet, for as often as Jesus reminds me of the necessity of remembrance, I forget so quickly.
Things like doubt, confusion, stress, worry, fear, all usually in the context of my circumstances or feelings of not being close enough to God. If I had a nickel for every time that “I didn’t feel like the Lord was speaking to me” or “I was frustrated that I didn’t feel like I was living in His love” shows up in my journals. . .
I noticed something else in my journals the other night: it’s all basically the same recurring things. New context, new levels of maturity, new life struggles and joys, sure. . .but nothing is really that different. Which makes sense in light of the God who never changes. I guess in the midst of living, I forget His constancy and consistency.
September 2005: “I want to be joyful and helpful and in Your presence. God I love you and I need you.”
July 2010: “You showed me that it is no longer about me. Today, help me live that. All I want to do is glorify You. You know my heart, you know my needs. . .you’ve always been faithful.”
October 2013: “Do not forget. And don’t forget the hope of eternity. Make me more like Christ! Keep me living before Him alone!”
That could have just as well been my journal entries from last night. I wrote one of them as a 12 year old girl who held in tension the tragedy of hurricane Katrina and the frustration of not being able to get together with a friend that afternoon. I wrote another as a sophomore in high school, another the beginning of this freshman year. But outside of the circumstances, the relative maturity, the daily increase of the grace of the Lord, not all that much has changed. The Lord’s faithfulness has been so constant.
Journaling has been such a gift for that reason: I am really bad at remembering. I’m even quick to forget the big things that the Lord has been faithful in – finding a church, coming to Wheaton, guarding my heart, praying for specific people. If these things slip my mind so easily, how much do you think I remember of the little ways the Lord has been faithful to me? The kind of things that wouldn’t even make it into my testimony. The answered prayers that involve finding things, meeting people, or daily experiences with His sustaining nature.
My life with Jesus is like a mosaic. When I step back and look at the big picture of the Lord’s faithfulness and sovereign hand over everything, I see it. It’s beautiful. I wonder how I ever worried about where the next piece was going to come from or where I was going to put it. But then I pick up the next piece and I’m not looking at the big picture anymore. And I forget to see the intrinsic value that the shard of glass I’m holding has when, really, I’m not the one holding it in the first place. Like my counselor says, fear and control are cousins and I don’t want either of them when the perfect love of Jesus can casts out fear because ultimately He is in control. And He’s so faithful in His sovereignty.
In Joshua 4, the Israelites establish a memorial of stones to remind themselves of the faithfulness of the Lord in bringing them to the promise land:
“For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
As much as I think I need to actually erect a stone monument because I’m that quick to forget, I’m almost positive my roommate would not appreciate it. Also, there’s probably some dorm rule against it. However, there’s nothing stopping me from making a list of moments and prayers and circumstances where the Lord has shown Himself good and faithful and consistent in my life. I’d challenge you to do the same. There is something profound about the act of remembrance.
Seriously – consider going through your journals or your memory to recount and remind your heart of all the Lord has been faithful in. When was the last time you stepped back from piece of glass in your hand and looked at the whole mosaic? Do you know how the Lord has been and is continuing to piece it together? In the midst of living, have you forgotten the beauty of the next piece you are currently holding and laying down? Don’t forget it. In the midst of joy or hardships, don’t forget His faithfulness isn’t contingent on our circumstances or emotions. He is stable and consistent in and of Himself and He never stops loving or pursuing us.
But now I’m just preaching to myself.
What an incredible God we serve. What a beautiful Lover we are welcomed into relationship with. What a gracious Savior who chooses to send His Spirit to indwell us. I love my Jesus. And I can’t afford to forget His faithfulness. And neither can you.