My mother visited me the past two weeks, and we spent hours looking through old photos in order to choose pictures for my book (see prior blogs). I smiled as those images brought back many fond memories. Like the process of writing my book, looking at the pictures reminded me of the Lord’s faithful and loving activity in our lives over the years.
Taking time to remember serves some important purposes in our lives:
We remember to thank God.
We can easily become distracted by this hectic world. Taking time to stop and intentionally remember who the Lord is and what He has done in our lives helps us remember to thank Him. He blesses and gives gifts out of His love for us. As we reflect on those things, we naturally respond with thanks. Gratitude changes our attitude, and we trust Him more.
The Israelites in the Bible remembered the Lord gave them the produce of the land as a gift, and they intentionally remembered His grace year after year, by offering Him the “firstfruits” of their harvests. Their songs recounted the Lord’s victories in their battles, and their prayers offered continual praise and thanks to God.
We remember to persevere.
When the Lord won a battle against the Philistines, who were Israel’s enemies, “Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer [the stone of help], saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’” (1 Samuel 7:12, NASB). That rock served as a constant reminder to the Israelites that the Lord had helped them in the past and would help them in the future.
Several years ago, a friend of mine underwent major surgery. Afterwards, she erected a pile of stones by her back door. She called it her Ebenezer, and it reminded her of the Lord’s ever-present help in her crisis. Recently, when she faced yet another excruciating surgery, her Ebenezer continually spoke of the Lord’s faithfulness as she faced this new challenge.
Remembering on purpose helps us to persevere. Vital memories from the past urge us on as we face new trials. We can keep going with the One who has always been with us.
We remember to tell others.
The Lord cut off the waters of the River Jordan so that the children of Israel could enter the promised land. He wanted them to intentionally remember what He had done:
“Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, “Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’” So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, ‘Cross again to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, “What do these stones mean to you?” then you shall say to them, “Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.” So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever’” (Joshua 4:1-7, NASB).
The Lord wanted His people to tell future generations about His activity, power, character, and promises. The stones from the Jordan River created many teachable moments as members of the community shared what God had done.
We must remember who God is and what He has done in our lives so we can tell others, especially the young people coming behind us.
Question: What would the Lord want you to remember about Him from your life experiences? How can you be intentional about remembering those things? Comment at the link below.