My new favorite song, “Is He Worthy?” written by Andrew Peterson and sung by Chris Tomlin and a bunch of people in a church, starts out with a call and response:
“Do you feel the world is broken?” (“We do.”)
“Do you feel the shadows deepen?” (“We do.”)
And then in the second verse:
“Is all creation groaning?” (“It is.”)
The song isn’t all lament, but it begins that way — the world is broken, the shadows are deepening, all creation is groaning.
Working at a newspaper, sometimes it seems like all news is bad news. The challenge as people of faith is to live in the now, the brokenness and groaning, while at the same time live in the promise of restoration and hope. We could look to the future, to God’s promise of a new creation and a time when God will wipe away every tear — and we should. But maybe even more so, we should look to the past, suggests Christianity Today writer Carrie Headington. She says in times of despair, history is what brings the most comfort.
I think she’s on to something. Whenever I recount the ways God has been faithful to me in the past, my present faith (and hope!) is bolstered to keep believing that he is not only able, but willing to meet my needs — or perform a miracle.
When the ancient Israelites were following the priests carrying the sacred Ark of the Covenant, they came to the Jordan River that was way too big and deep and wide for them to cross. Something similar had happened 40 years prior when they were fleeing from the Egyptians and came to the Red Sea. Just when it looked like they were about to be annihilated by either the Egyptians or by drowning in the sea, God parted the deep water and the Israelites walked through on dry land. The Egyptians, however, did not, and as the sea closed back up, they drowned. So, when the Israelites came to the Jordan River, they remembered their history. Of course, there was always a chance that miraculous sea-parting was a one-time thing, but God did it again for them and they walked through the Jordan River — at flood stage — without even getting their sandals wet.
God told 12 men to each take a rock from the river as a reminder for future generations, so when their great-grandchildren ask about the rocks they can tell them about how God is the living God who does wild, amazing things for his people. I have a rock on the shelf over my desk at work. It’s my history rock, my “God did it before and he can do it again” rock of remembrance to remind me that I don’t ever have to worry or fret or be afraid that God will forget me or my family. It’s a reminder that, because God was faithful to me yesterday, and because he never changes, he will be faithful to me tomorrow — today too.
History assures me that God holds my future.Is he worthy of my trust? (He is.)
— Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria — I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing” and “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at email@example.com.ForFor