11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered…
1 Chronicles 16:11-12 (emphasis mine)
At the beginning of a new year, some people like to choose a focus word for the year ahead. While I have never given this practice much thought, a word seemed to be chosen for me last year. Towards the end of 2019 and into the beginning of 2020, I couldn’t get the word “remember” out of my head. It seemed to me that God was telling me to remember. “Remember what?” I thought. I didn’t have a specific answer, but I tucked “remember” into the back corner of my mind and went about my business.
Then – COVID-19 hit. Our world was turned upside-down. There were countless new trials, hurts, difficulties, new and different decisions, and all kinds of struggles for many months. There was no ministry precedent for what we were living. It was easy to lose hope in the midst of so much stress, confusion, and heartache. And yet – remember. That word kept resurfacing in my mind. “Remember what, God?” I would think.
“Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered.” Throughout Scripture, God tells His people to remember Him – to remember His works, His covenant, His miracles, and even His judgments! I never gave much thought as to why He says this over and over again, until last year. It is to give us hope! It is easy to give up hope and live in despair when things get tough. That was true for the Israelites and it is true for us today, and that is why God tells us to remember.
As 2020 dragged on, that word “remember” kept pointing me back to God. Yes, things around me looked difficult, but I could remember the way He had brought us through in the past. Yes, I disagreed with various things that were happening, but I could remember that God has always been just and that I can trust Him to take care of whatever judgment might need to happen. Yes, there was (and still is) a deadly virus ravaging our world, bringing all kinds of social and psychological pain with it, but I could and still can remember the miracles our God has done and trust Him to bring healing to our land in His timing.
The way to true hope is through remembering our great God and what He has done for us – everything from salvation through Christ’s death on the cross to our individual needs and concerns that He has taken care of in the past. To find hope for our present circumstances, we need only to “seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.” As we seek Him and remember Who He is, we will remember our hope is in Him and we don’t have to worry.
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