As I read the Bible growing up, I often laughed at how stupid or blind Israel could be, to turn from God even after the many miracles they experienced.
I mean, they really experienced miracles! They saw God rescuing them from oppression time and time again — even witnessing the parting of a whole sea — and yet invariably they would forget and turn back to their own ways.
I always thought that if I were in their shoes, having seen the things they’d seen, I’d never forget. The whole thing just didn’t make sense to me.
God might not have dramatically parted a sea for me, but there have been miracles of provision, healing and life transformation. And boy, I am quick to forget them.
But classic Singaporean, right? Comment and criticise only. The truth is, as I grow older and look back, I see a lot of that “doesn’t make sense” in my own life.
God might not have dramatically parted a sea for me, but there have been miracles of provision, healing and life transformation. And boy, I am quick to forget them. I’m just as much of an Israelite in that regard.
FORGETFULNESS BEGETS UNFAITHFULNESS
Israel would first forget, before ultimately rebelling against God (Psalm 78:40). I believe the reason why we rebel is because we do not consider/meditate on/remember God’s wondrous and mighty works for us. It’s certainly true for me.
God does an amazing thing for me, and I walk away blessed. Life is smooth-sailing, it’s good. Not so much “God is good” — but life is good.
And without even realising it, I walk away a little more.
When we forget what God has done for us, we forget who we really are — children utterly dependent on Father God. Blessings become an entitlement; miracles are reduced in significance, or taken as logical outcomes in life. It seems an infinite God begins to shrink in our world.
The truth is: No, He hasn’t, but our view of Him has shrunk.
I bought a little book to record all the things God has done for me. God changed me through that thanksgiving journal.
But it can’t be like that. We must remember.
If we really meditate on what God has done (Psalm 8:3-4) and is capable of doing, it should humble us. Yet it will also draw us, as specks of dust, closer to an Almighty God. We desperately need this realignment, we who are so prone to pride and ingratitude.
REMEMBERING YOUR FAITHFULNESS
I didn’t want to become an ungrateful Israelite. I wanted to remember: To reflect on the Lord’s deeds and blessings for me, and, with that knowledge, thank and praise Him all the better.
So years ago, I went and got what I call a thanksgiving journal. It was really just a little book to record all the things God has done for me — things to praise Him for.
I wrote down many things, big and small. From great joys like landing a first date with my then-to-be girlfriend, to His comfort in times of great loneliness living overseas, I penned them all down faithfully. In the wintry winds of a country so alien to me, I always had a warm and familiar Friend.
God changed me through the thanksgiving journal. It made me a little smaller, and it made God great.
On the best days, the thanksgiving overflowed onto multiple pages. On days that weren’t nearly as good, there were still things to thank Him for:
Thank you that the heater works, and I’m not cold.
Thank you God, for my church. It’s not perfect, but it’s there.
Thank you that You are here with me …
On the very worst days, when I cannot even bring myself to write in the thanksgiving journal, I quietly flip through its many pages. And I am humbled by the thousands of things God had done for me.
It gives me a deeper understanding of what Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons really means.
It brings me joy knowing there is a God who is for me.
I know that it I were to write down every single thing God had done for me — there wouldn’t be enough ink in the world. There just wouldn’t be enough pages.
So I do my utmost to remember. Because I know that remembering breeds gratitude. And gratitude finds love.
Love — larger than life itself.