A few weeks ago, Hayley and I managed to get away for a weekend in Gibraltar to see some of my family. It was a bit of a whirlwind weekend, with an early morning flight on Friday, a very late flight home on Sunday and then back to work at 9am on Monday morning…I’m still catching up on the sleep, but you are only young once!
There is only one word that could be used to describe our weekend away - laughter! We literally laughed all weekend from the minute we got there! We laughed so much that my ribs actually ached for the rest of the week! The reason we laughed so much was because we spent the weekend with my family reminiscing about all the good times that we had as children when we enjoyed long summers together at the beach. Along with my cousins we were retelling old stories, rather embarrassingly for us as most of our partners hadn’t heard a lot of the tales before! At the end of the weekend away both Hayley and I came back refreshed and happy with full hearts as we enjoyed such a joyful few days. A big part of that came from all the laughter as we retold our stories.
Sometimes it’s good to think about the past, isn’t it? It’s good to be reminded about things that have happened and laugh at those situations now. It’s good to look back and see how much we have grown and learned. It’s good to tell stories to others so that they can enjoy hearing about what had happened. Reminiscing is no bad thing.
It got me thinking too: it’s actually a Biblical thing. If you read the book of Psalms, most of them involve the writers recounting different things that God had done in the past and praising Him for them.1 In the Old Testament we often hear songs and poems about the things that God has done and how his people worshipped him because of them.2 Then in the New Testament we are often encouraged to think about how we were before, compared to what God has done now.3 Don’t forget Jesus literally encourages us to remember him when we have communion together! Looking back and reminiscing is a very common theme in the Bible!
There is something vitally important about being reminded about the things God has done in our lives, especially when we go through drier periods where we don’t see God working as much or maybe we feel more distant from God. A reminder about the past can also be a reminder about who God is. I will often look back at my early days as a Christian and think about the transformation that God made in my life. That reminder then encourages me that God can and will do the same in the lives of other people. It’s an encouragement about how God can reach anyone, no matter how far away from him they seem - after all He managed to reach me!!
Now I’m not saying that we should all get obsessed with the past and spend our whole lives thinking about the ‘better days’ - that isn’t a healthy attitude. I’m very aware of the verse in the book of Isaiah where God tells Isaiah to ‘Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past, see I am doing a new thing!’ However, I do think there is a healthy balance. Looking back on blessings and things that God has done is very different to dwelling on the past. Worshipping God for things He has done in your life is very different for wishing for things to be exactly as they were before. It is often when we look back and remind ourselves of the things that God has done that we build a sense of encouragement and faith about the new things. If God has done it before, He will certainly do it again!
I think as Christians we need to recapture the joy of reminiscing and let that lead into our worship and our prayer life. Why not make that your challenge this month? Think back to some of the ways that God has worked in your life. Maybe take some notes as a reminder and use them to help you in your worship to God now.
Oh, and one more piece of advice this month, make sure you laugh…lots!
- Psalm 9,18,30,40,77 etc
- Exodus 15, Judges 5, 2 Samuel 7 etc
- Ephesians 2:12-13
Watching my children sing and dance along to their favourite worship song taught me a couple of lessons about joy and faith. Jesus also had a lot of say about having childlike fath when teaching his disciples in Luke 18.
This will be the first Easter in three years that we’re able in Jubilee to gather together to celebrate, and the Easter message is still as powerful as it was 2,000 years ago!
Starting on Tuesday 15th March we are committing a whole month to prayer. Prayer has always been the bedrock of a Christian life with God. Prayer is what unites us to God in the here and now. Through prayer we experience the friendship and lordship of God through His Word and Spirit. In prayer we come to all three persons of our One Majestic God.