I'm a few days late, but I didn't want to miss another week of Lelia's ongoing study of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. Chapter eight advises us, "Look Back: Forget Not His Benefits, O My Soul."
Looking back has always been an integral practice in my thought life. Sadly, for many years, the sole purpose of looking back was to dwell on my mistakes and on the hurts I experienced at the hands of others. I could look back, alright - I'd look back and find an excuse for behaving badly today. Somehow, I don't think justifying ourselves is the kind of looking back that Jennifer and the psalmists are calling us to do.
Studying God's Word is the kind of looking back that brings joy and comfort. The entire Bible reviews the story of God's love and His unfailing provision for us. God repeatedly reminded the nation of Israel to remember His great deeds on their behalf, to teach the history of His faithfulness to their children and their children's children. How often in the lives of the early fathers do we see stone monuments erected to mark the places where great signs and wonders have occurred? These were cues for the people to look back and remember all that God had done for them.
Through the grace of God and a lot of hard work on both our parts, looking back today is a source of wonder and promise for me. A few Christmases ago, my daughters constructed a "This Is Your Life" scrapbook for me. It traced my journey from childhood through adulthood, into marriage and family, professional milestones and our reconstruction after Mr W's death. It reminds me of the Old Testament stories of how God worked in His people's lives. There is sorrow, there is joy, there is stiff-necked disobedience and there is redemption.
But underneath it all is the grandest, most glorious love story of all - of my being pursued with passion and of my finally having the grace to stop running. Today, I invite you to look back on your story to see God's thumbprint, to rejoice that through good and bad, bitter and sweet, He always has been and always will be there.
May you feel His grace today,
The last Word:
Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in Your sight, O Sovereign Lord, You have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. For the sake of Your Word and according to Your will, you have done these great things and made them known to your servant. How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like You, and there is no God but You.
2 Samuel 7: 18-22, NIV.