They say an elephant never forgets, and I’ve not got much evidence to prove them wrong, but one thing I do know is that it is very easy for a Christian to forget.
As part of our training on the Associate Scheme we’ve been reading through the Old Testament, and it’s been pretty striking how regularly Israel is called upon to ‘remember’, or worse still are rebuked for ‘forgetting’. The big event that they often seem to forget is how God rescued them from Egypt, an event that completely defines them as a people. But more than that, it seems the idea of remembering God’s work in their lives is engrained into the very being of their world. Joshua is told to build a pile of stones to remind Israel of God’s provision in crossing a river, and even the very naming of places and people seems to promote a constant looking back to God’s activity in their history.
Now, I see that as you move forward to the NT you see the apostles constantly drawing us back to the cross of Jesus as the defining moment in history where God rescued his people. But my question is whether we’re still pretty poor at recalling God’s ‘everyday’ grace in our lives, and not just last week’s blessings but that moment 20 years ago too.
To caveat all that, I guess we wanna be protective against the danger of not spotlighting the ultimate moment where we were united to Christ as we repented and believed. And we wanna have a good biblical theology that understands how God blesses his people, i.e. we don’t wanna promote a drift into the stuff of the prosperity gospel.
But if we truly believe ‘it’s all by grace’, then wouldn’t we be able to look back at our lives and be able to say exactly that, rather than in a general vague sense? To look back on answered prayers, particular moments when it was hard to trust God but we kept on anyway, times where rejoicing in suffering was a very real experience, the surprising joy of unexpected provision, God’s sovereign hand in bringing together certain events, incidents where we could really testify to the beauty of the church working to care for its members.