It’s Ash Wednesday, and there’s a whole lot of formal “remembering” happening right now. Takes me back to a moment last summer when God, in his good timing, prompted me to remember.
We joke a lot about my husband’s “seven-ness” that seeps out of him on vacation. It makes things epic. But home, in all of it’s simplicity and routine, is beautiful too — so we were ready to hit the road in our jam-packed Town and Country — when the transmission went out the first time. Turns out, you chose a few of the adventures you dive into, and some waltz right into your plans and blow up. When we chose our own challenges, there is a degree of excitement in the planning that goes into it. But… there are virtues that cannot be sharpened in quite the same way as when we are surprised. So when our transmission went out on the van that was to take us home… 3 times… we had some choices to make. I’ll spare you the gory details, but there was one instance when answers were not near, and anxiety levels were on the rise.
At about 1 in the morning when I woke up after dreaming about our dilemma, my anxious heart started begging God to protect my heart. You guys… he did. He showed me something in Numbers.
Joshua and Caleb had just returned with the other 10 men from spying out the land the Israelites were promised — and they were ready to take it. Not so the others, because the challenge of overtaking it looked insurmountable, and so they turned Israel’s heart away (yikes.) The Lord grew angry, and while he agreed not to destroy them completely, he gave them their way — not to occupy the land — and they wandered the desert for 40 years. 1 year for every day they had spied out the land. No one in that generation would see it — except Joshua and Caleb.
Here’s what struck me. The root of the reason God was angry wasn’t their fear or lack of training or weariness. It wasn’t a lot of what you might expect in the face of a challenge. It was forgetfulness. They had forgotten that God was good. Forgotten that he had rescued them over and over and over again from what appeared to be insurmountable odds. Forgotten that it was not by their own strength that they must trudge into what felt challenging, but that he was WITH them and FOR them. They forgot. And I wonder if it is because they did not spend enough time intentionally remembering. Remembering that He had sent 10 plagues into Egypt. Remembering that what he said he was going to do, he did. Remembering that he had fed them magical manna when they were hungry. Given water from a rock when they were thirsty. That he had heard their cries and sent them Moses. That he shielded them from an oncoming army with a cloud, and ushered them across the sea with masses of waters drawn up beside them. Epic rescues. Epic stories. Unfathomable faithfulness… and so their forgetfulness was tragic. And mine would be too.
If we want to stand with feet firmly planted while what lies ahead comes running towards us, we must chose to remember the ways God has been faithful. The story he writes in our lives is not always the one we would pick at first glance… I wouldn’t have chosen a broken vehicle in the middle of a desert — but we are not entitled to smooth. We are not entitled to easy. And we are not living a life randomly blown by chance. There are things we cannot possibly see, and things that sometimes hurt. But when I know that my God is good; kind — that he is a promise-keeper, that he works all things out for the good of those who have been called according to his purposes… I stand on the Rock that I know Him to be.
That day I was nudged to remember. And today, we are all nudged to remember.
Let’s stand. Firmly Planted. Because we remember the truth about who he is, and know that he goes before us. How would it look today, if we waltzed into our next challenge with a heart that has spent some time remembering? Rooting for you.