Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced. – 1 Chronicles 16:12 NIV
Before the days of digital devotionals, I used the blank backside of the front cover of my printed copy of Our Daily Bread to record prayer requests. This way, my prayer list and my daily readings were all in one place. When the month was up, I often tore off that cover and stuffed it into the new booklet until I had time to copy the prayer list.
One day while cleaning out my devotional basket, I came across those old prayer lists. Reading them over, I was amazed at how many of those requests had been answered. Perhaps not in the time or manner I’d wanted them to be, but, looking back over time, I could definitely see the hand of God. And my flagging faith was fortified.
While we focus forward and avoid looking back at our past mistakes, that doesn’t mean we never look back. We need to.
For it is only when we peer into the rearview mirror of life that we can see the hand of God more clearly than we could at the time, when doubts and despair, like dust swirling through the air, cloud our perspective.
As I look in the rearview mirror, I see ways God provided for my needs—a tank full of heating oil just before winter when we didn’t have the money to buy it, boxes packed with groceries left on our front porch by an anonymous giver at a time we didn’t have two nickels to rub together, money for gas so I could drive to Alabama to see my mother one more time before she died. Oh, I could go on and on and on … but you get the idea.
In the rearview mirror I see God’s faithfulness, deliverance, presence, protection and provision.
What I don’t see in the rearview mirror are my mistakes, my sins. For God has removed them from me “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). If God forgave me and remembers my sin no more (Jeremiah 31:34), why should I remember and beat myself up about it?
I often quote St. Paul, who wrote that he forgets what’s behind and reaches for what’s ahead (Philippians 3:13). What Paul was forgetting was his utter failure to meet up to God’s standards on his own.
And so we, too, should forget our failures.
But God wants us to remember the good things—His able protection, His abundant provision, His abiding presence. Why else would He command the Israelites to set up a memorial with stones from the Jordan River (Joshua 4), to observe the Passover Feast, to never forget the many ways He delivered them from the time He saved them from the Egyptians to the time they entered the Promised Land, 40 years later?
Why else would Jesus say at the Last Supper over the bread and the wine, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19)?
What do you see when you look in the rearview mirror of your life?
Thank you, God, for what I see in the rearview mirror. Amen.
Read and reflect on Joshua 4.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.