The Rearview Mirror

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 it’s important not to dwell on 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. 

I look in the rearview mirror and 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). He left behind 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.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

The Other Shoe

Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? –Psalm 44:23 NIV

A man checked into a hotel room and was told to be as quiet as possible because the guest in the next room was a light sleeper. As he pulled off his shoes, he accidentally dropped one on the floor, making a loud thunk! He carefully slipped off the other shoe and crawled into bed. An hour later, he was awakened by someone pounding on the wall and a shout from the light sleeper next door: “For heavens sake, drop the other shoe!”

Have you ever waited for the other shoe to drop? “Trouble comes in threes,” you’ve heard, and you’ve already been slammed with two. “What else could go wrong?” you ask, but don’t really want to know. So you spend your days and nights anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

A Facebook friend, suffering from shingles and enduring cortisone shots, said that she “felt the question hovering over me, looking for a place to land.”

Been there? Done that? Haven’t we all.

In times like these, we wonder where God is. We’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, yet not even a whisper of an answer comes from heaven. Not even a “Wait.” God is silent, and we don’t know why.

Psalm 44 addresses this scenario. The psalmist goes from feeling blessed to abandoned, and he doesn’t think it’s fair.

While in the context of this psalm, he’s speaking for the nation of Israel, we, as individuals, can identify with the situation and his feelings: “You blessed us” (vv. 1–8). “You abandoned us” (vv. 9–16). “It isn’t fair because we didn’t do anything wrong” (vv. 17–22).

Like the psalmist, we have a choice. We can stay in our pit of self-pity, feeling betrayed, rejected, and abandoned, or we can accept God’s sovereignty and, like the psalmist, still pray, “Help me!” (vv. 23–26).

My Facebook friend chose not to wait for the other shoe to drop, but “to live by faith not fear.”

When read this psalm in my Quiet Time Bible one morning, I was challenged to “ask God to help you to understand His ways and grant you His peace when you are waiting for His voice.”

How can I ask Him for understanding, when my finite mind cannot wrap around God and His ways? As A. W. Tozer wrote, “God in His person and attributes fills heaven and earth exactly as the ocean fills a bucket which is submerged in its depths.”

But, even though I cannot even begin to understand—am I supposed to?—I trust that He has a plan and a purpose for my pain. I do not pray for patience as I wait for His answer. Instead, I pray for strength for the wait and His grace to sustain me as I wait.

He hears.  He will answer. Of that I have no doubt—even when the other shoe drops.

In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation (Psalm  5:3). Thank You for the hope I have in You. Blessed assurance! Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 44.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.