In recent years, we’ve returned on several occasions to the matter of our memories serving not simply as a means of recollection, but of praise and thanksgiving.
“I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember Thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” (Psalm 77:11-12).
If God is as pointedly involved in our lives as the Bible declares, and if “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,” remembrance of the past offers continual opportunity for the expression of gratitude to our Heavenly Father (James 1:17). God privileges His trusting sons and daughters in Christ to journey down memory lane, as it were, not simply to recollect with our minds, but to commune with Him in our hearts. Are there things God has done in our past for which we’ve never given thanks? Doubtless, there are. Are there things He has done for which we have given thanks, but which we’d like to express gratitude yet again? Our Heavenly Father certainly won’t be bored by hearing another “Thank You.”
We do well to include both the pleasures and the pains of life in our offering of gratitude. Again, an all-involved God who works all things together for good to those who love Him can justifiably receive thanksgiving for the rose and the thorn. In our present existence, we require the experience of both in order to know the Lord and to be changed into the likeness of Christ. Remembrance of both blessing and buffeting therefore offers opportunity for the gratitude that reflects faith in the God who wastes nothing in our lives as He fulfills His good and loving purposes in our lives.
This is written as yet another reminder to my own heart, and perhaps to yours. Our capacity for remembrance exists not simply to enable us to function, but also to worship. Our recollections become more than memories as our journeys through the past remind us not simply of people, events, blessings and difficulties, but of the God who was graciously and actively there in all.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)