I remember the morning that I left for Zambia so clearly. My flight was later that afternoon, and very uncharacteristically of me, I woke up filled with so much peace. The night before at church, we sang “It is Well”, and I woke up singing that song in my head, and feeling this complete peace in knowing that whatever would come my way during those 2 years in Africa would all be a part of God’s plan. God knew what was ahead. Maybe if I knew the details of it, I would never have gone. But that’s the beauty in not knowing everything – He gives us enough grace to handle things day by day, with His help.
I am now in my last month here on the continent, and I can’t help but to be in this constant mode of reflection. I keep wondering if I’ve seen and done everything that I wanted to, if I’ve grown as a person when it comes to day to day tasks, if my faith has grown, if I have become braver or stronger. I think about how so many situations have changed the way I think about people and the world (in a good way), how certain situations have made me be more patient and compassionate, where other situations have brought a lot of ugly to the surface.
But most of all, this state of reflection has caused me to look back and meditate on what the Lord has done. In moments that are stressful, it’s very easy to focus on that moment. It’s very difficult to turn your thoughts away from that moment and remember what the Lord has done for you before. I’ve learned that it takes a conscious decision to stop, think back to how He has proved Himself faithful over and over again, and worship Him in the midst of a storm.
I often think back to the Israelites in Joshua chapter 4, and how they were commanded to lay down twelve stones taken from the Jordan River as a memorial. Their children would ask “what do these stones mean?” and the Israelites would tell them about how God dried up the Jordan River, and the Red Sea for them to cross, and how His hand was always on them. Joshua 4:24 says “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever”.
When I meditate on the things that God has done in the past, in the midst of a current difficult situation, it reminds me of His power – and that increases my faith. There have been times in the past 2 years where I have seen God’s power, I have felt His protection, I have sensed His leading. When I make a diligent search to remember what God has done for me, it’s like I begin to lay down memorial stones, one by one. The more I remember, the more that mountain of stones grows, and I am able to look back and say “the hand of the Lord is mighty!”.
When we remember what God has done, we are able to move forward in faith knowing that He will never leave us, that He will provide and that He is our rock.