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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Remember the Past, Shape the Future

Take a close look at my picture, please. 

Does it appear as nothing more than a plastic tub… with junk?  Absolutely not! You’re looking at my monuments! They convey messages of hope, and that God is real and powerful. During hard times, they remind me that God is faithful. And I need plenty of reminding because life is full of challenges, trials and strong temptations!

In the Old Testament, a stone monument was commonly used as a memorial to remind future generations of what had happened at each place. Just to name a few:
--A monument at Gilgal reminded the Israelites of their deliverance from Egypt.
--Samuel raised up his Ebenezer stone when God delivered Israel from the fierce Philistines.
--Goliath’s huge sword, placed in the tabernacle, served as another reminder of God’s deliverance.
--A monument was raised when God backed up the waters of the Jordan for Israel to cross into Canaan. Twelve men placed twelve large stones where the priest stood as the waters parted.

“Never-forget!” Moses commanded the nation of Israel. Moses, who had led the Israelites through their desert wanderings for 38 years, would not be going with them into “the promised land.” A land offering many freedoms, but filled with fierce enemies, seductive temptations, hideous religious practices, and vast physical challenges.

Never-forget what? Their monuments served to remind them they were a redeemed people and that their God could defeat any enemy and conquer any situation. He commands them (and us) in Deuteronomy to “never-forget” nine or more times, and to “remember” 16 times!

At times I feel so blessed! It’s like I’m living in the “promised land.” But quite often my life is full of  modern day “fierce enemies, seductive temptations, hideous religious practices and physical challenges.” So I’m intent upon “never-forgetting” and “remembering”! 

I remember the sturdy plastic wheel cover that flew off John’s car. He and Anna were driving home from their weekly father-daughter date when another car, going 40 mph, hit John’s car broadside. They spun across a major, busy intersection. The impact broke off the rear view mirror, which landed in the back seat, and totaled the car. John and Anna left the scene without a scratch or bruise.

I remember the buyer’s closing statement. For years we lived on a shoe string budget while raising four children and church planting. We dreaded throwing away monthly rent. Yet, without a down payment, we had no recourse. The option of buying a home appeared impossible!

Then one evening John spotted a small ad in the newspaper. The veteran’s administration was offering home loans without a down payment! We bought a lovely home with a mortgage payment considerably less than our rent!

I remember Gilroy, California’s headline news: “Hundreds flee rising waters from Uvas.” The front page picture features our family in a boat with John lifting Bonnie, then 2-years-old, safely aboard a rescue bus. Every home in our neighborhood except ours was severely damaged by the dam’s flood waters. (Coming soon: “Rescued from Flood Waters” blog)

I remember a paycheck stub from Moody magazine. The magazine featured John and my miraculous salvation story, which transformed our marriage. (Read March 9th’s blog: “Why I’m Still Married!”)

I remember a hand printed note that says, “Seth, With Faith You Can Move Mountains!” Our almost 4-year-old son repeatedly asked and prayed for a big wheel. His request far exceeded our church planting budget, but not God’s. One morning, our porch step donned a huge cardboard box with the note attached. Guess what it contained! The giver remains anonymous.

I remember the picture of our 16-year-old daughter’s Pontiac Sunbird…totaled! One rainy night,  she rear-ended a car.  Ally escaped unharmed.

I remember “Rescued on the Summit”.  It’s a story I wrote about our family outing to Mt. Baker’s 11,000-ft. summit in Washington State. The higher we ascended the heavier the snow fell. Our van fishtailed, and our tires began to spin. Attempting to brake we slid backwards. After an urgent, LOUD prayer, “God please keep us from going over the edge. Stop the van!” the rear wheels stopped abruptly. We sat motionless teetering on the edge of a 100-ft ravine. Somehow, John maneuvered the van to safety.

I remember John’s recent miracle. His strong, healthy heart arteries developed collateral blood vessels that saved his life and kept him from having a heart attack. The doctor called John’s condition “an anomaly.” I call it “a miracle.” (Read “Miracles Still Exist!” March 2nd blog)

How has God personally met with you and touched your life? What are your monuments, the tangible, physical reminders which God has given you of his ever present help? Perhaps they are filed away in your mind. Hang onto them.

“Never-forget!” Monuments will strengthen your soul, bring hope in distress and courage in your trials! 

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