Monday, September 9, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Remember

Remember to Remember
A devotional by Amanda Wen

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.” 
– Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

This verse contains some of Moses’ final words to the Israelites, the people he’d led out of slavery in Egypt and through four decades of wandering in the desert.

He spoke them as they were about to cross the Jordan River into the land God had promised to give their ancestors centuries before. And of all the things he urged them to do, one of the last and most crucial was to remember.

Remember the plagues God brought on the Egyptians, and how you yourselves did not suffer the same effects.

Remember how God delivered you out of slavery in dramatic fashion, plundering the Egyptians as you went.

Remember how God parted the sea and drowned the Egyptian army as they came after you.

Remember the many times God came through for you.

Why would Moses give this advice? Because he knew human nature.

Moses knew how easy it is to forget God’s miracles in the heat of stressful circumstances. He knew how soon songs of celebration would turn to questions and complaints, how quickly Israel went from rejoicing in God’s miraculous deliverance to griping about the lack of variety in their diet.

I read these accounts, and I think, “Seriously? They watched God part an ocean for them, but then wished they were back in chains in Egypt?”

But if I look at my own responses to circumstances that are less than my version of ideal, I ask the same questions. “Where are you, God? When are you going to intervene on my behalf? Or do you plan to abandon me? Did you bring me this far only to bring me this far?”

The key to avoiding the vicious cycle of complaint is to remember God’s faithfulness. Remember the times when He’s moved mountains, when He’s come through in ways only He can.

Sometimes these are times of enormous blessing, like when He led me to attend a Boston Red Sox watch party where I met the man who would become my husband. Or when He provided the means and the guidance for us to purchase our home. Or when He nudged me to enter a writing contest where one of the final judges was the literary agent who later signed me as her client.

But frequently, the times God has come through have been in times of great trial.

Like our car accident twelve years ago, where He protected us from significant physical injury and provided professionals to guide us through the longer-term psychological trauma. How, as part of the healing process from that accident, I began writing fiction as a way to cope. How my cello, which was severely damaged in the collision, sounded even better once it was repaired.

That accident was unpleasant, to put it mildly. But God has brought—and is still bringing—so much good from it.

My family right now is going through a very difficult season. It’s tempting to fall into the trap of self-pity, to wallow and wonder why God allows His children to struggle. To wonder if this is finally the time God leaves us hanging.

But remembering His past faithfulness and knowing His character does not change, I’m confident He’ll come through yet again. Remember that He’ll bring beauty from these wounds and scars just as He did before, just as He always does.

During difficult times when you can’t see God at work, look back at the times He’s blessed you. Look back on the difficulties He’s already brought you through.

Looking back and remembering to remember God’s Providence in your life story thus far, will enable you to move forward.

Author Bio:

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. 

A first place winner in the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. In addition, she was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest.

Amanda is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship team at recent ACFW conferences. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their three adorable and hilarious Wenlets.

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