Don't forget your memory card
I can’t remember many cloudless days in the Cascades. But today was one of them; not a cloud visible anywhere, in any direction. This morning, in preparation for the snowshoe outing with my wife, I’d been careful to make sure the digital camera had fresh batteries. When we reached the ridge, there were spectacular views in every direction, and I took out my camera to gain record of the scene, only to find that I’d failed to bring the memory card. Without the memory card, the 10x optical lens, and filtering capacities of my little digital, along with its video capabilities, are all worthless.
In the Old Testament, when God was shepherding his people through their wilderness journeys and battles, God is careful to call Israel towards a lifestyle of recollection. He states it both positively (remember) and negatively (don’t forget). He tells them to set up memorial stones for remembrance, and celebrations, and to tell each other the stories of provision, deliverance, and God’s faithfulness.
This is why journaling is so valuable. This is why eating together with others and sharing stories of God’s work is time well invested. This is why art, song, preaching, memorial stones, and pictures are important. Remembering is vital because today’s faith will only be as strong as our remembrance of God’s faithfulness yesterday.
Finally, even prior to remembering, there is the important matter of seeing things to remember. What’s God been doing lately? Probably nothing, if your view of His activity is limited to extraordinary interventions, breaking into everyday life with either literal or metaphorical trumpets. Usually, the voice of God is more subtle, and we need to learn to turn the eyes and ears of hearts towards His more subtle revelations. It probably won’t happen much if I’m running from event to event, never pondering, never praying, never noticing. To Elijah, God appeared in powerful manifestations, but when He needed Him the most, it was the still small voice that showed up. Nothing’s changed really – the still small voice of a kind word when I was at the bottom of discouragement, or an outrageous sunrise when I was weighed down listening to the news on NPR, or a very good word in the Word, or a song by U2, or a very good conversation. Remember those moments – perhaps celebrate them – record them. You’ll need them later.
My memory card is a collection of journals, a couple passports, lots of pictures, and yes, even this silly little blog. What’s yours?