Remember: God’s faithfulness is on display in our struggles

faithfulness god's faithfulness hope purpose remember trust Aug 05, 2020

The day Joey was diagnosed with Down syndrome, we left the geneticist’s office with a book called Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents’ Guide. In the introduction, the editor encourages the parent carrying the weight of the heavy burden to take lots of pictures of their child’s early years, assuring them that they will likely “treasure” those memories and “want to revisit them often.”

At that point I quite literally dropped the book like a hot potato and did not return to it for several weeks.

Treasure? Did she say TREASURE? I knew life wouldn’t always look as bleak as it did in those first days of his diagnosis. I knew we would adjust. I knew we would be… at least OK. (I did NOT think we would ever be happy again, but that’s a different story for a different day.) But I could not imagine I would ever TREASURE the memories of those early days.

I’m so glad I was wrong.

Seeing God’s faithfulness

I love seeing pictures from Joey’s first years. Yes, partly because the kid is just so incredibly cute, of course. But it’s more than that. When I look back, I remember how hard it was, how sad I was, how many questions and concerns and unknowns seemed to plague us—and then I look at us now. I see how far Joey has come, how far we all have come.

Most importantly, I remember how faithful God was.

I saw it in the family and friends who cried with us, who prayed with us. I remember worrying that no one would want to hold Joey, that they would shrink back from him—but instead they fought over who got to snuggle him next. They called and volunteered to help with the older kids—I rarely had to ask for help, because it was constantly offered. They showed up with food and folded laundry. They showed up.

I saw it in the connections we had. Jon had expanded his property management business into homes for adults with disabilities, and we now knew people who could point us to much-needed support and resources.

I saw it in the determination Joey showed to conquer each milestone. I began to rejoice in the tiniest of victories—a new sound, a new movement, things moms of typical kids overlook entirely. And I saw how much JOY could be in our lives if I chose to embrace it.

I remember with a few tears and so much joy—I really do treasure those moments.

Our call to remember

Over and over in the Old Testament, the Israelites take steps to remember. They build altars. They hold festivals. In fact, the Scriptures are full of calls to remember:

  • “Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Deuteronomy 6:12
  • “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness…” Deuteronomy 8:2
  • “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” Psalm 77:11
  • “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the works of your hands.” Psalm 143:5
  • “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which was given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

And on and on it goes.

It’s vital we take time to remember, even our hard days—especially our hard days, in fact. Because those are the times when God’s faithfulness shines. Every altar and festival served to remind God’s people of his faithfulness, the way he showed up for them in the middle of their struggles.

We remember because it builds our faith. We remind ourselves of God’s goodness and faithfulness, so we can lean on that knowledge when the next storm hits.

My pastor, Tim Armstrong, often reminds us, “God is faithful. You can trust him.” It’s a simple statement, but so important to keep in the front of our minds.

Joey’s early days were often hard, but they also showed me over and over again God’s goodness. When I remember how he led us through and the victories, love, and joy we experienced along the way, I can trust that he will do it again the next time. And the next time. And the next.

Our call to share

But it doesn’t end there. Not only do those memories serve to strengthen my own faith… but they are meant to strengthen yours, too.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul writes, “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). OK, yes, Paul gets a little wordy sometimes, but here’s the gist: God shows up for you so you can show up for others.

We take the lessons we learn and pass them along to others. We know how much a meal meant to us on a hard day, so we drop off dinner for a struggling friend. We remember the comfort of a thoughtful card from a friend, so we drop a note in the mail.

And we tell our stories. We tell them to our children, our families, our friends. We tell them of the Israelites and the early Christians, absolutely—but we tell them how God has been faithful in our own lives. And we see that God shows up most clearly in the middle of the hardest days… and gradually we see the beauty in the struggle.

So today, take the time to remember. Look for moments you can treasure, even in times of darkness.

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