Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Don't you Remember?

Living as a believer in Christ, I get frustrated so easily with myself. Loving God births a desire in me to become more like Him. An honest appraisal shows me how little I resemble His graciousness and compassion. This self-recognition often leads to self-condemnation and discouragement, when I buy into the lie that Christ is displeased with me.

The Gospel of Mark describes an instance when Jesus' disciples found themselves in a similar situation. (Mark 8:14-19) Jesus' followers were realizing their own shortcoming: They had forgotten to buy bread. Misinterpreting Jesus' teaching about leaven, the disciples thought He was upset with them. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, gently guided their focus away from themselves and their condemnation. Instead He asked them to remember what He had already done. "Don't you remember?" He asked them, reminding them of the times when He used what little bread they had and multiplied it.

This principle can readily be applied to our own lives. Sometimes it is helpful to look back and remember how much the Lord has already done, rather than lamenting our imperfections. We can draw encouragement from the fact that God is at work in our lives. He is using what little we have to offer and is multiplying it.

Unfortunately I so easily forget. Recently a friend encouraged me to remember God's work in my life by keeping a journal, recording honest, heartfelt prayers, and the answers which God provides. I wanted to record how God had changed me and drawn me closer to Himself in the process.

In my search for a suitable notebook, a journal, which I had kept 20 years ago, plopped into my lap. Reading it was so encouraging! Do you know what struck me the most? The issues I had struggled with back then are not my issues today. Oftentimes daily change comes in such miniscule degrees that we don't realize how we have changed, learned and grown closer to Christ. Realizing God's work in me made me so thankful.

Going back and reading an old journal entry is like an Ebenezer - a stone erected in Old Testament times for the purpose of remembering. Like this stone it speaks into our present situation saying, "till now the Lord has helped me." (1Sam. 7:12)

Whenever you start feeling impatient with yourself, think of Jesus gently asking, "Don't you remember?" God is at work in your life, if you are submitted to him, and "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)