When we look back at God has done in our lives, it will help us to cling to him more
Feeling pensive in the past few weeks, I decided to dive into the past five years of my life. Since 2016, anywhere from 1-4 days a week I’ve have been tracking the highs and lows of my life.
Funnily enough they all have a similarish beginnings, the handwriting starts really neat then by February it’s devolved into a bunch of chicken scratch. We have the day-to-day updates, church notes, things I have learned, tales of heartbreak, the prayers, so many prayers and reminders of challenges overcome, forgotten and ongoing.
I have a terrible memory so journaling does the trick for me, but perhaps you have other eays to remember, photos, trinkets, drawings? The Israelites in the Bible often built Ebenezers in remembrance of what God did, and their numerous festivals throughout the year were meant to remind them of the Exodus narrative. Though we no longer live under the same covenant the principles still apply.
Here's a couple little ways journaling has helped me.
Remember God in the dark
I’ve written about learning how to hope after my dream career petered out already, but I haven’t shared the moment when God began to use my hurt to speak into my life.
Four years beforehand, I asked for a verse to speak into my future as a writer.
John Chapter 14 Verse 2
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
I thought it was about how my writing will invite people into the faith. The way my 18-year-old self-framed it, prioritising how my work will help people was well-intentioned, but meant that the first misstep towards that dream was tumble towards abject failure.
It was three years later soon after I lost my first writing job, I sought this journal entry again and asked was God lying to me about this dream?
Equipped with three years of discipleship that verse given to me back then was weighted with more significance now.
In my youthful pride I thought that I’d be the carrier of the Gospel to people, little did I know that only a few years later that I needed to be reminded of very same fact, that I’m known, love and accepted by God not by what I do, but because he loves me first and I will rejoice in that fact.
Even now as I pursue my passions, this truth spoken to me in the Gospel of John years ago, rings with clarity in my soul.
Remember God in the normal
This past week I was spending time volunteering to help a bunch of school leavers as they partied and celebrated the end of their high-school lives. In a week like that the prayers we often say is that we need to be in “right place, right time” and that we need be carried by the grace of God. And at 4am when you dawn is about to break and you’re helping some vomiting teen the immediate answers to those prayers are more apparent.
Unfortunately, a week full of 2am-5am finishes aren’t always conducive to a great memory. And so I finished each morning to pause, take stock and write down a bit about what just happened. Looking back, not even a week separated I can say I’m thankful for how God used us.
This may be a more dramatic example, it’s easy to miss where God is moving in our lives simply because we’re just living it. The word “Selah” in the Bible has unclear meaning but often is used to signify space in a text. When we take time to acknowledge that “space” the emptiness and normalness of our lives you’ll see God moving in extraordinary ways.
So I encourage, start journaling, or at least do start doing something to remember what God is doing in your life. You never know how it might help you in the future.
Justin Sayson is a freelance journalist living on the Sunshine Coast. From about sport, music, faith or anything else, he’s always keen to discover more about the world around him. You can see more if his writing on justinsayson.com