How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
Psalm 111:2 (NLT)
My mind often drifts to unfinished projects, like how the truck needs a new distributor cap or the spot in our ceiling needs to be patched up. My to do list comes to mind quite a bit. I’m good at remembering what needs to be done, and even better at putting it off for another day. Yet, I don’t remember what I’ve already accomplished — the checks that I’ve put in the boxes after getting the drain tile trenched or kicking the air conditioner hard enough that it didn’t break all summer. Remembering what’s been done is good. High five, etc. But that doesn’t fix what’s broken today. Right?
Maybe that’s why the scripture calls us to remember — to ponder — what God has done (past tense) before we start asking Him to do (future tense). We’re very “to do list” oriented in our prayers and very forgetful about the “done” list. Why would remembering the deeds of the Lord be helpful for us? Like a pastor, I’ve come up with three benefits of pondering the deeds of the Lord.
Remembering puts us in our place. There’s a gravitational pull toward believing that we control our context, as if we keep our own heart beating and somehow manage to keep earth spinning. God does that, not us. When we were kids and played in each others backyards, one of the overarching rules was that we remember who’s yard we’re in, because they call the shots. We’re God’s creation, existing within God’s creation. Remember Genesis? Remember God’s creation? Remember the verse that says that you have been knit together in your mother’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully made? God made you. God made this. We’re not in your yard; we’re in His.
Remembering renews our passion. The days that I’m dragging are the days that I’m not remembering God’s faithfulness. I have down days; that’s the rhythm of existence. When I take the time to remember what God has done, it stirs something in me that makes me care again about the right stuff. Knowing that God calls me his kid and remembering His blessings in my life breaks down the buildup of gunk that comes from running nonstop. It shakes me up and helps get me focused on His work and plan. When I hear a song by Muse, it gets me excited about the power of music again. On a grander scale, when I recall God’s great work in rescuing us, I get excited because I’m part of His plan, and there’s work to be done.
Remembering tells our “worry voice” to “shut up”. Constantly thinking about the to-do list is a byproduct of my tendency to worry about the future. I’m a ramifications guy who can easily extrapolate horrendous outcomes of ignoring vital repairs. Being my wife, Emily knows exactly how to help me regain perspective as she gently pats me and says “you worry about really dumb stuff.” She’s right. It will be fine. It always has been. There’s no better way to shut down a future concern of a grand scale than to remember what God has done to overcome mountains in the past.
Remember this: remember. It will be to His delight. And yours.