The Worship of Remembrance

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I’m the sentimental type so I love to look back through photo albums from when my kids were little. As I look at the images, it reminds me of stories… Stories of God’s faithfulness, stories of God’s provision, stories of God healing, stories of God faithfully leading. 

The Psalmist Asaph looked back as well. Not because he was sentimental, but because he was having a crisis of faith. Ever had one of those? Maybe even in these past few months, you’ve wondered, “Where is God in this mess? Where is His provision?” Asaph wrestled with those questions as well. He wondered, “Why do the wicked get ahead and it seems as though those of us who are righteous suffer?” (Psalm 73:2-3). He felt forgotten and abandoned by God (Psalm 77:1-3). 

The children of Israel felt the same (Numbers 11:1). The wilderness was getting old. They were sick of long, endless days trekking across the hot sand, with no refreshment in sight. As a result, they began to grumble and complain. Where in the world was God, and why, oh why, wasn’t He providing?! (Psalm 78:17-19). The Psalmist Asaph recounts the story in Psalm 78, but then he goes on to write, They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer” (Psalm 78:35). Ah, there it is. Did you catch it? They remembered.

The worship of remembrance 

is choosing to reflect back on the goodness of God 

and remembering His faithfulness in the past.

Friend, do you feel like you’re in the wilderness? Maybe you’ve been crying out for one of your kids to come back to their faith. Or maybe you’ve been asking God to heal your marriage and it looks as though it’s headed for divorce. Maybe your bank account is empty and you’re begging for provision. Or maybe you need healing and heaven feels silent. May I challenge you? Practice the worship of remembrance!

Remember the Goodness of God’s Character. When you feel confused and circumstances look dark, make a list of what you know to be true about God. I often use the alphabet. I order all of God’s characteristics alphabetically and praise Him for each one. I remember that his character is good, holy, just, and unchanging. I remember that He is my rock, refuge, and redeemer. As I praise Him by remembering His character, my faith is strengthened. 

Remember the Faithfulness of God’s Provision. Look back and remember all the times that God has been faithful in your past. Create a time-line of the last ten years and list all the times that God faithfully protected, healed, and comforted you. The stories of God’s faithfulness in your past can strengthen and sustain you in the now. He is the One who is faithful and true when all others fail. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Great is His faithfulness. 

Remember the Promise of God’s Presence. The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you so we can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6).  I memorized this verse as a little girl, and I can’t tell you how many times I have returned to the comfort found in these words as an adult. 

I remember laying in a hospital bed with all manner of machines hooked up to me after my surgery for cancer. Steve and I had agreed that he would go home to be with our children who were experiencing a lot of fear. But as Steve left that night, I felt very much alone. I remember repeating the words of Hebrews 13:5 over and over in my mind until I finally fell asleep. 

Here’s the thing, life is going to feel chaotic and out of control at times. In those moments, practice the worship of remembrance. Remind yourself of God’s good character. Remind yourself of how He’s been faithful in the past. Remind yourself that He has promised to continually be present in your life. 

Here’s a song that has been a great blessing to me as I have practiced the worship of remembrance. My prayer is that the Lord will use it in your life as well:

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