I am wondering if I can just be real here, this morning? After all, isn’t it a relief and a breath of fresh air when we all take off our masks and come out of wherever we are hiding? I firmly believe that being transparent is one of the healthiest and most liberating things we can do. We are human, of the same human frailty and it feels so reassuring to be in the company of others who acknowledge that. So, here it is: There are times I desperately doubt my faith. I struggle with believing in the goodness of God. I question if God is even alive or working in any situation that I am able to see. I want to know and love God but there are times that I am aching to make that real in my life. I want more than words, text or print. I want the words to come alive here, in my life and all around me. I want to be far more reassured of the power of a living God than I am the evil of humankind and honestly, a lot of times, I lack that reassurance. I have to wrestle hard to claim it, despite my feelings.
I once heard it said that the greatest enemy or deterrent to seeking truth is the belief that we already have truth. When there is no struggle to move forward, it is only because we think we are already there. While it is never a place that I enjoy being, I believe that the very presence of my doubts to see God – they are really a gift. God isn’t forgetting to be big; He isn’t forgetting to work. It is only myself, who has forgotten what He has already done.
But, the truth also is this: the struggle is hard. Very hard. It is so easy to read the Bible and announce a moving and reassuring verse but making that verse come alive in my daily life is sometimes downright painful. It is easy to proclaim a scriptural promise but to rest in the promise is hard. My circumstances do not always line themselves with what I say I believe to be true. Sometimes no matter how hard I try to frame up my circumstances, they just do not focus within the lens of Scripture.
As I am studying the life of Moses through Bible Study Fellowship, I immediately became impressed with the idea that from a human viewpoint, Moses’ life appeared forsaken. He was born into a terrible time of history – the threat of being killed as a male infant – and his mother decided to put him in a basket and send him off in the river! Nothing in Moses’ circumstances were easy and I can only imagine HIS struggles! The end of the story reveals that God was in fact working the entire time – Moses was never forsaken and even as an infant floating in a basket, God was there the entire time. The moment may have appeared forsaken and the presence of God denied, but the reality is that God’s plan was being orchestrated in every single detail. What appears forsaken to us was held tightly in the grip of God’s sovereign hand!
I recognize that this has always been my story. Long before I was ever even aware of God’s presence, He was working. There were times in my life that I didn’t even know to seek or trust God, and yet, I look back now and see how very protected I was. There were times in my life when my circumstances were NOTHING but forsaken. As a child, I was frequently surrounded with abuse, crime, poverty, drugs, alcohol and an overall chaos. I was completely alone and yet God was working and leading. I did not know to question or doubt Him then and yet, He still worked out His perfect plan in my life. I have the gift of looking back and seeing how carefully God took care of me before I even sought Him.
The greatest gifts I have to take with me in to the future are the reminders of what God has done for me in the past. Just like Joshua, I have to set up stones of remembrance.
And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’”
God has already proven Himself to be great and mighty in my life and I have the stones to prove it. It is the power of this living God that I want to share with others but it is also this power that I need to remind myself of daily. God isn’t forgetting to be big; He isn’t forgetting to work. It is only myself, who has forgotten what He has already done.
For every doubt, I have a stone of faith. For every fear, I have a stone of peace. For every trial, I have a stone of victory. Clinging to my stones of remembrance, I realize I have everything I need for the battles ahead of me.