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Remembering


“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” – Psalm 77:11

         

Remembering is sometimes a good thing. Married people set up traditions to keep the memories of how their love for each other sprouted. Anniversaries recall their wedding day, year after year. Wedding rings remind them of their commitment. Wedding photos capture the moment when “two become one.” In remembering the beginning of their love, couples often find new hope for the future.

    

Forgetting, on the other hand, can have a negative effect. If a spouse forgets their anniversary, often feelings are hurt, and tears - and anger - may appear.  Forgetting may communicate to the spouse that, perhaps, that day is not so special to their mate. 

    

Many of the Psalmists remembered also. When things got bad, they would remind themselves and their readers of past events. Events when God performed some mighty acts to rescue the Israelites from a foreign invader or, in some cases, from themselves. God formed the nation of Israel by using Moses to lead them out of bondage in Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into the promised land. This miraculous beginning is as significant to Jews as the cross is to Christians.

    

God even established an anniversary day for the Israelites — known as Passover — so that they would remember their beginnings and how God miraculous intervened for them. Every spring, Passover would remind them of their escape from Egypt. Jesus, during the last supper, changed the meaning of Passover for Christians. Now it no longer was to remind them of how the Jews were rescued from the bondage of Egypt, but now to how Christ rescued us from the bondage of sin.

    

Psalm 77 is one of the Psalms that remembers. It starts with deep despair. “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?  Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (77:7,9). Then thoughts turn, suddenly, to the past. Remember the turmoil at the banks of the Red Sea? Could anything be worse? But in that turbulent water they had seen the Lord’s power: God had led them through to safety. He would do the same again.

    

Psalm 77 invites us to relive history. Like married couples remembering back, we can recall God’s work — his powerful victories recorded all through Scripture, his promises and proofs of love toward his people. And we can refer to God’s history with us as individuals, too. We can all count God’s past blessings in our lives and the grace and mercy shown to us. Through such remembering, we are strengthened to face the future and to recommit ourselves to trusting in God’s care, no matter what we are going through.

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