This is something God asks us to do. A lot. It appears everywhere in the Bible. Remember the Sabbath. Remember Jesus’ Death and Resurrection through the Eucharist. Remember how God parted the Jordan River, the Red Sea. Remember.
I think it means I’m not the only one prone to forgetting.
Just before they enter the Promised Land, Moses tells the Israelites to remember the whole way God had led them through the wilderness. The phrase bounced around my head for a couple weeks before I finally did it too. I decided to remember the places He has brought me thus far in life, the miracles and gifts He’s given, the challenges we’ve walked through. I started a list.
I remembered the times where I was stuck, overwhelmed, in way over my head. And I cried out, sometimes with the only prayer I could utter in that place — “Help!” And He came. He rescued me. Or He sent someone to rescue me, people I hardly knew who came from out of nowhere to grab ahold of me and pull me to safety, to life.
I remembered the times where I asked for outlandishly lavish gifts — and He gave them to me. Like the time I asked if I could go to Rwanda with a certain friend and two days later I got a message from her — she had the craziest thing happen and was going to Rwanda and would I like to come too? And so I did. There was the time I asked if I could write for a local magazine that didn’t exist. Three weeks later the newspaper announced they were going to launch this exact magazine. And so I asked to be a part of it and they said yes. Once I asked for a cabin in the woods next to a wild river and I got that too.
I remembered the long, lonely wilderness places too. There was the Wilderness of Babies. Maybe not all mothers go through that wilderness, but I did. There was the Wilderness of Poor Health, when I was constantly weak and tired and my brain and body didn’t work like it once had. And there was the Wilderness of A New Church, when we left what was familiar and safe and comfortable to a new place God was leading us.
What did remembering do?
It reminded me that God is strong, faithful. That impossible places don’t even exist — they are a figment of my imagination. God hears me, God rescues me — to this day, He has never ignored my cries for help.
It reminded me that God loves me and is generous. God delights me with surprises and extravagant gifts. He is into being way over the top, even if I am not. I suspect God gets a kick out of making me smile. I like that about Him.
It reminded me that wilderness is always part of the journey — I have gone through some, I will go through more. They are inevitable, but they are not forever. And that I am not alone as I walk through them, even if I sometimes feel like I’m alone.
And that is why God tells us to remember. It tell us who we are. It tells us who God is.
I made a map, a timeline, to tell my story. And I got nails and string and I put it on my wall, right over my desk so that I can remember every day that I sit down at my computer. God rescues. God is with me. God adores me. God has promised me good things. The God who has composed my past is composing my future.
Today I asked for something big.
I put another nail up on the wall.