I was inspired by reading a recent blog by Kris Vallotton on “How to become courageous when fear is surrounding you”. He talked about the power of thanksgiving in both battling with our fears and anxieties, strengthening us and giving us courage. You can read it on https://www.krisvallotton.com/how-to-become-courageous-when-fear-is-surrounding-you
At the end of his blog he writes “I want to pray for you, if you have found yourself weary in courage may the strength of God rise up in you as you recount the times He has protected you.”
Earlier in his blog he has reminded us of the story of David and Goliath. David was confident that He could fight and defeat Goliath when everyone else was paralysed with fear partly, I think, because he saw that Goliath was defying the armies of the living God. But also, which is very important for us today, what did he remember, actively recall, carry at the front of his mind, and what formed the basis of his confidence when all others were afraid? It was his previous experience with the bear and the lion when he was shepherding sheep. 1 Samuel 17: 34-37. “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine”
Now it is possible for remembering to lapse into nostalgia, but it is so important that we do not devalue the power of active remembering. David’s active, intentional, focused remembering fuelled his faith and gave him the confidence to go where no one else dared, trusting God. It is very interesting and significant for our walk with the Lord, that God repeatedly in the old testament calls to His people to remember how He delivered them from Egypt, how He defeated their enemies, how He took care of them in the wilderness, answered their prayers and much more beside. And He wanted them to remember that He did this against all the odds.
Moreover God also warned His people repeatedly not to forget what He had done for them. And, through their history, He was grieved that they had forgotten numbers of times and, as a result, were in a mess, defeated or down the tube. All of this says to me that I should not place fast and loose with forgetting all that the Lord has done for me through all my life, from my big salvation onwards to the “small” daily answered prayers. And I should imitate David in having a very active and intentional remembering system feeding my mind, heart and faith.
I think that John Newton got it right:
“His love in times past, forbids me to think, He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink,”
“Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review, Confirms His good pleasure, to help me quite through”
Ebenezer means “stone of help” and when he set it up Samuel said ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us” 1 Samuel 7:12. John Newton reminds us of the power of reviewing the times in our lives thus far, that the Lord has helped us.
So back to Kris’s blog “….may the strength of God rise up in you as you recount the times He has protected you.” We need to get talking to ourselves, faith comes by hearing Romans says (ch10:17), my ears and heart need to hear me recounting as I remember all that God has done for me, from the sublime to the apparently trivial. Actually nothing God does is trivial.
And what is one of the best ways to recount and remember and not forget all the Lord has done for me? Why, thanksgiving of course! It is very hard to be thanking God for all He has done for you and not to find your hope and faith in His love and power for today’s issues growing. And it is so practical. As you sit in your chair bringing things to mind and thanking God for His love, kindness, goodness and answers, in all sorts of real life situations that you have faced, your faith for today and tomorrow rises and confidence and courage grow even in the face of situations that can bring anxiety.