A Lifetime of Memories
Your struggles aren't for nothing. They are actually building in you a lifetime of memories. How can I say that? How can you believe that the bondage or trial or weight you carry is actually the fodder for a good memory? I'll look back on a struggle, a time of heaviness in my life that may help to start the explanation.
Many years ago my wife and I were in an abusive situation. A place of oppression. But because of our strong commitment, we struggled with moving on - taking ourselves out of this situation. It was a time of frustration. If you had asked us how we felt about our circumstance at the time, the answer would not have been hopeful or positive.
Yet God had a plan.
During that time I had a love for plants. They were all over our house, much to my wife's dismay! There was one plant in particular that held deep meaning to me because this plant was a gift to my mother when I was born. And it so happened that when my daughter Kaitlyn was born, this plant, which had never grown any new shoots, suddenly sprouted a new shoot.
I thought that was very cool and significant.
But to keep this plant from growing freely and flopping all over the place, I had tied it up with twine. Seemed like a good idea, but the twine was cutting into the plant and damaging its shoots. I felt like that. At that time in my life, I felt like that plant; bound, restricted, hurting, tied up.
And so, with a vengeance, with a passion far too great for a man simply cutting some twine, I took scissors to the plant's bindings and cut it free. "You will no longer be bound!" I seethed with justice. And the plant fell free. And God spoke to me, clearly.
"Will I not do the same for you?"
At the end of his life, king David began a vow with these words, "As surely as the LORD lives, who has rescued me from every danger ..." This was David's boast, his recount, his memory. Not regret over his horrible sins or failings, not remembering the bitter days hiding in a cave or feigning insanity to his enemies. No, his vow began with a boast that was backed up with the greatest memory he had - a memory of the God of Israel, his Deliverer.
And you have the opportunity right now, in the midst of any struggles, oppression, or difficulty to build the same memories David did. Memories of trust. You have the opportunity right now to take heed to the words David later spoke on his deathbed, "I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man."
You can take courage, make the LORD your Deliverer, your Trust, your Strength. And when you near your guaranteed end, you too will be able to vow with boasting, "As surely as the LORD lives ..." The One who has seen you through your trials, the One who never left you, the One who set a table before you in the presence of my enemies, the One who ... it's yours to fill in.
It's your memory to create.