Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Look Back: Forget not His Benefits, O My Soul
This chapter was very timely for me. I have spent quite a bit of time looking back recently. Jennifer writes "Remembering is essential to the health of our souls." I thought aha! good for me!
I loved the analogy of our thought closets being like libraries! Just like a real library I can see my thought closet in sections "the childrens section" Oh how fortunate I am that I had a wonderful blessed childhood. I grew up on an air force base near Fairbanks Alaska. So many wonderful memories. Making snow angels while looking up in wonder at the beautiful Northern Lights. Christmas was always white! Even now as I contemplate this chapter and remember my childhood I am flooded with love and gratitude for this gift from my heavenly Father. My childhood will always be a book to pull from the shelf when I need a healthy dose of happiness.
I would be lying if I did not say that I wished there were only joyful wondrous memories to be found in my thought closet. Alas there are many painful, even agonizing memories to be found alongside the northern lights. " The painful memory is profitable because it adds to my personal peace. It reassures me that I can trust God if another difficulty comes into my life."
This is a great encouragement that I need to dwell on, since my life recently has been full of painful difficult memories. Even yesterday I found myself reflecting on the terrible days that followed my son's arrest. Instead of focusing on the pain I found myself praising God for carrying me through. ...because in those dark, difficult places, we often become more deeply acquainted with the good and comforting presence of God. Yes we do! I am living proof, I am right in the middle of a dark difficult place and I can truthfully say I have never before felt the presence of God in such a mighty way!
My good friend Liz got me started on journaling years ago, I am so thankful for the wonderful advice to try it because now I have pages and pages of prayers that I have written out over the years to look back on. This helps me in so many ways. It helps me to remember the many answers to prayer. It also helps me for the prayers that have not yet been answered. It causes me to want to persevere as I know God is faithful to hear and answer me. My timeline is not His.
In the last section of this chapter I had to laugh when I read the account of Jennifer's friend Alicia's late husband. I too have "spent five years of emotional energy mourning the death of a man who was stuck in traffic" How silly I felt when he came walking through the door!
I can say that I totally agree with her in that it is never beneficial to dwell on what may happen, even if it is somewhat of a possibility. I used to worry that I would see my son on the evening news. Unfortunately there came a day that indeed he was on our local evening news. God spared me from actually seeing the news story. Did my worry change anything? No, it but it did rob me of peace many, many times. Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own"
I will forge ahead while from time to time pulling books off the shelves in my thought closet. Books of joy, some of pain, some of peace. Hopefully I will learn from each the lessons God has for me. Lessons that will mold me and make me a better servant in His kingdom.