I often joke about having short-term memory loss and use it as an excuse for being forgetful.
Seriously, even before my injury, I forget things way too easily. I think sometimes I just choose what I want to hear and remember only that.
I have recently noticed that one of the things that I most often forget is the Lord’s faithfulness.
This cultivates fear in my heart as I am facing challenging circumstances, because I don’t remember the thousands of times that the Lord has proved Himself faithful to work for my good and give me the strength and joy to endure the trials set before me.
And I don’t think that I am the only one who has had this problem.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, we see that God promises to deliver His chosen people, the Israelites, out of their bondage of 400 years of slavery under the Egyptians and bring them to the Promised Land that He had prepared for them.
“…That the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.”(Deuteronomy 30:3-5)
He sends a man named Moses to deliver them from Egypt.
The Lord proves faithful.
As Moses is leading the Israelites out of Egypt, the Egyptians begin to pursue these people, and they are out for their blood. The problem for Moses and his people is that they are approaching The Red Sea, but God splits it in half and allows His people to pass through to safety, closing it on their enemies.
The Lord proves faithful, once again.
Later, as Moses leads these people into the wilderness on their journey, they begin to complain. They say things against God and Moses like,
“Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?” (Exodus 14:11) and “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (Numbers 21:5)
Despite their foolish, sinful forgetfulness of the Lord’s faithfulness to provide for them thus far and to fulfill every single one of His promises up until that point, the Lord showed them grace by raining bread down from Heaven for them to eat called manna, giving them quail to eat, and providing water from a rock for them to drink (Our God is cool.). These were wondrous, supernatural miracles that pointed to the glorious, wild love and faithfulness of God and yet they continued to complain later on. Why?
Because they forgot.
When they had traveled almost 250 miles ON FOOT from Egypt to the Promised Land, they were only TEN miles away from tasting the Lord’s sweet promises in the Promised Land and they were complaining.
And when they got to the Promised Land, they were afraid of fighting the people who lived there so that they could take the land, and they actually wanted to turn around and go alllllllll the way back to Egypt.
This was the place that was their own personal hell on earth for 400 years and yet they were willing to abandon everything and go back to it. Why?
Because they forgot.
The mind-blowing fact is that the people living in that land at the time were called the Amalekites, and in Exodus 17 God promises the Israelites that the Amalekites would never have victory over them again. This means that there was no possible way that the Israelites could lose the fight when they took the Promised Land, but they turned around and only a few of them got to taste the goodness of the Lord’s promises in that land. Why?
Because they forgot.
God brought the Israelites out of 400 years of hell on earth, and then He split a sea in half, provided quail, manna, water from a rock, and brought them safely to the Promised Land, and they were afraid and wanted to go back. Why?
Because they forgot.
They forgot the Lord’s faithfulness to fulfill His every promise and to always provide and to always work for their good. Me too.
In the life of a believer in Jesus Christ, fear most often sprouts when we FORGET the promises of God towards us, and when we FORGET His faithfulness towards us.
Joylessness is cultivated when we forget that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Insecurity is cultivated when we forget that we were designed, handcrafted cell by cell, and loved wildly by our Creator before the world was even created. And that He sent His very own Son to die for you and for me and He chose to hang on a tree and bleed out for you and for me.
Anxiety is cultivated when we forget that the Lord desires to carry our burdens for us and make our yoke light.
Pride is cultivated when we forget our sinfulness and our desperate need for a Savior.
Guilt is cultivated when we forget that grace exists and that our slate is wiped white as snow by the dark red blood of Jesus on the cross.
Doubt is cultivated when we forget that our Savior doesn’t have a grave, but that He rose again in victory and that He promises to use every little seemingly-insignificant thing for our good and for His glory if we let Him.
Fear is cultivated in the soil of forgetfulness and unbelief.
So it is not only important that we remember that the Lord is faithful, but it is vital to our walk with Him. But how? I understand that it can be scary to try and remember when we are so prone to easily forget.
Well, there was a man named Joshua in the Old Testament of the Bible and after the Lord was faithful to fulfill His promises to him, Joshua started building piles of rocks, so that whenever he would look at them, He would remember.
“And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” (Joshua 4:20-24)
So that’s what I am going to do. I am going to keep a list. And sometimes, if that’s what it takes, I will literally stack rocks. Whatever it takes to remember.
Friend, lets build a pile of rocks, to remember that all of the promises of God find their yes in Him.