I’m sure we all have those kind of days.
The kind of days when our heart feels heavy and our mind is overwhelmed with many things. Nothing in particular may have happened but life can just be confusing and doesn’t always go as expected. Sometimes things have a way of piling up so that deep discouragement sets in.
What can we do on those days? How can we regain perspective?
I recently read through the book of Deuteronomy. It’s a book of the Bible that I didn’t expect to have such a big impact on my life.
One key word kept on popping up: Remember
Does anyone else have a habit of forgetting the things they should remember and remembering the things they should forget?! I do and I think it’s getting worse the older I get :)
The heart of God is so clear and amazing throughout Deuteronomy. His desire is to bless His people, to save us, to bring us near to Him and His goodness, and to lead us into an abundant life with Him
Why is remembering God so important? Why does Moses spend so much time telling the people of Israel to remember all that God had done for them? These verses give us some clues:
You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm… (Deuteronomy 5:15)
[ Remember the Lord Your God ] “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers (Deuteronomy 8:1)
The book of Judges gives a sad picture of what happens when we forget God and all that He has done for us:
And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. (Judges 2)
Israel was in an exciting time of their history! They had witnessed God rescue them from all the oppression they had endured at the hands of the Egyptians but sadly just as they were about to enter the land God had promised them, the people chose not to remember the sure promise of God to bring them safely into the land. Instead they allowed fear and disbelief to stop them from obeying God in confidence. They didn’t remember who their God was; they forgot that their God was strong enough to rescue them from slavery and to part the Red Sea so that they walked across on dry land.
As a result that generation had to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years and the next generation of people got to enter the Promised Land instead. Moses is speaking these words in Deuteronomy to the nation of Israel as he is preparing to pass the leadership mantle onto Joshua. Joshua would be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land.
As Joshua starts to lead the people, these are some of the words he said, “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ “ (Joshua 1:13)
When they were facing the same daunting task as the previous generation, Joshua too encouraged the people to remember who their God was.
I’m learning that in the times I most sink into discouragement and weariness, I need to remember God’s past faithfulness and His amazing promises the most. When I take time to think about all that God has done in my life in the past and when I remember all the promises His word contains for those who trust in Him, I find a new hope and strength to face the day. This life can be so hard and the pain we experience is real but those who place their faith in Jesus Christ are promised unfathomable things.
When we are tired and feel like giving up, God promises to give strength to those who wait upon Him. He is most strong in our weakest times.
When we feel so alone and fearful, God has promised to never leave or forsake us. He is close to the broken-hearted; when we seek Him, we will find Him.
When sin and shame cause doubt of God’s love, remember that in Jesus we are already a new creation. He is the one who started the good work in us and He promises to be the one to complete it. Anyone who calls on Him will be saved. His mercies are new each morning and His faithfulness is great.
When it is hard to do the right thing and to live with integrity, remember that God’s ways are best and that His commands are not burdensome. Jesus promises that He came to give us abundant life and nothing compares to the surpassing value of knowing Jesus.
On this Thanksgiving weekend, I know we will all be in different seasons of life. It may feel really hard to remember God’s goodness or it may feel really easy right now. A friend recently told me that for so much of life, the battle starts in our minds. The truth of that statement has resonated with me deeply. The things I think about can either add to my discouraging and overwhelming times or they can remind me of the truth, despite my feelings. In all seasons of life the death and resurrection of Jesus is the one thing that assures us that God is for us and He loves us so much. He gave everything so that we could be saved and experience true life in Him. He gave us is own Son! Remember that Jesus came not to condemn but to save; and to give us life, unfailing love, and hope in Him. Not just for this life but for the life to come!
Each day take time to remember who God is and His precious promises to anyone who will come to Him.