My earliest and most cherished memories involve waking up at the lake. My body would wake before I would open my eyes. In anticipation I would listen to the light clang of my dad making breakfast in the camper, the smell of bacon, the gentle sizzle of eggs. Even as a young girl of four I probably could have reached out my arm from my dining-table-turned-bed and touched him. Outside I could hear others from our hometown exchange morning greetings as camper doors opened and shut, and waves gently lapping on the beach area mere yards from our campsite. In the distance, boat motors whizzed in lurches as anxious skiers launched out for the glassy waters of sunrise.
With my eyes still shut, I would hope beyond hope that when I opened them I would, in fact, be where my excited senses told me I was. Would I see early morning light streaking through the yellow curtains still shut over the camper window? Was that really Mrs. Bailey's voice inviting the kids to help her make popcorn balls (the favorite of the kids in our camping community)? Would my dad's back be to me at the miniature stove and was the smell of bacon real?
You see, sometimes my memories took me places I wasn't actually in. Some mornings those memories and sensations were so real only to vaporize when I would open my eyes to see the pink curtains over my bed and and to realize the smell of bacon was down the hall in the kitchen of our home at 303 Easy Street (that really was our address!). Sometimes it was necessary to open my eyes slowly.
Our memories can joyfully or painfully wash over us, triggered unexpectedly by sounds, places, smells or even people. The role they play in our emotions, and especially in our faith, can slow or speed up our journeys through the tight and narrow places of our lives we have to stretch to get through. To remember something is to rehearse it. What memories do you rehearse when you ponder the place you are in life? Do you play on repeat the wounds and disappointments or do you rehearse in your mind the interventions and faithfulness of God?
The question we all ask ourselves in the midst of our life situations, "What am I supposed to do?" is often best answered by asking ourselves, "What has God done for me?" All God has done for you, is doing for you, and will do for you, is a prophetic act of what you are to do next ... for others. Remembering God's presence in our past is often the catalyst we need for believing he is with us in our present.
In Psalm 56:9 David says, "When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; This I know because God is for me!" In this Psalm and in this timing of David's life, we find David in the middle of a season we can relate to. Times when the wave hits, and no sooner do you come up for air but another wave hits. Rather than feeling like you are advancing in any measured way, you instead spend all your energy just not drowning. Yet in the middle of his lamenting over very real trouble, David remembers. He remembers the goodness of God and that he will be delivered. Why? Because God had delivered him before, and his experience with God and intimate knowledge of God reminds him God will deliver him again.
What are you remembering? Psalm 51:12 says, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit." May I challenge you today to remember not only the wondrous event of salvation in your life, but to also remember your salvation is the deliverance from your present enemies?
Before you open your eyes in the mornings to come, rehearse the memories of the goodness of God in your life. Feel His presence, remember his voice, and open your eyes to see you are exactly where your senses proclaim you are: in the very palm of His hand.
Photo credit of Cedar Bluff Lake to osmins.org