Our family has been sharing devotions at breakfast time since the very beginning. Our children were raised on a steady diet of bible and prayers alongside their Cheerios. Linda and I continue this blessed tradition. The particular ‘Devotional’ we are currently using has been focussed, the last few days, on the issue of assurance (that is knowing that we know that we are Children of God).
We chatted afterwards about the fact that this has not been a pressing issue for either of us for as far back as we could remember. That we do not struggle with this idea of assurance is based on two things: experience and memory. These two things are emphasized again and again through Scripture. The great deeds of God , in history, the actual experiences of the People of God are recounted and memorialized for future remembrance. The Passover and the Lord’s Supper are apt examples.
It is the same in our lives. We have all faced challenges in life. God has seen us through them. When we recall his faithfulness, we are strengthened to face the next challenge. This week I heard a preacher tell of a member of his congregation who faced a painful death due to brain cancer. He spoke of the man’s faith and dignity. He spoke of the fellow’s gratitude to God in the midst of the pain. The man recalled God’s faithfulness and so faced even painful death with a calm assurance.
It is a tragedy to waste our painful experiences. Let us recall them, even the bitter ones, and know that God has and is seeing us through.
Remembering past pain can be a delicate thing! As someone who for many years suffered with PTSD I know that painful reliving of the past is much different than recollection which brings assurance. I am tremendously grateful that I no longer live ‘there’ and that I can recall, and recount God’s presence help and comfort.
The greatest moment in history to recall is the Resurrection of Jesus. As the Gaither’s have long told us, we “can face uncertain days, because He lives!”
Pain and sorrow, and yes even death, are inevitable. We might wish it were not so, but facts are stubborn things. Blessed are those who can weather life’s storms knowing that God who brought you this far will not fail. It is just not in his nature!
I highly recommend a scheduled daily devotional. There are many wonderful books and guides for every age and stage. We spend the last moments of our devotional time praying together for the upcoming events of our day, our nuclear and extended family, and our neighbours. These prayers help set up our day for ‘the living’. These times correct the course mistakes of yesterday and put us on track to spending a good day with God and one another. This is a long habit and a fruitful one.