The Art of Remembrance

Christen Jacobs's picture

A toaster was all it took to throw me into a crisis of faith yesterday. I love toast as much as the next person, but it wasn't the actual toaster that triggered my downward spiral, but what the toaster represented.

About a year ago, we as a family took a leap of faith and quit our jobs to move across the country with very little knowledge of what we would do for the Kingdom of God.  In the process, we gave away all of our stuff... yep even our toaster. There is something freeing about unencumbering oneself of earthly possessions, that is until you need said earthly possessions. Fast forward to today and God has provided us with affordable housing in the inner city neighborhood where we desire to do our ministry. But now we need all of that "stuff" we gave away.

As I approached the typical task in our borrowed home, making a borrowed breakfast and toasting borrowed bread it hit me; we don't own many things in this season of trusting—we don't even own a toaster!

Breaking points come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it comes in the form of a life-altering accident, a death, or a loss of a job. Yet oftentimes breaking points come in the mundane moments of life when the pressure of one thousand small things erupt from the deep at the most inexplicable moments. And that is exactly what happened to me. The toaster was not just a toaster, it was the angst of needing to provide for my family, it was mourning the loss of possession, it was anxiety related to this move, it was the dread of leaving the comfort of our borrowed home, it was everything and anything at that moment and I broke...

I was actually so distraught I didn't want to attend church, but my husband knew better and I trudged along to sit in the congregation full of worry about this new life season. All throughout the scriptures, we find that God has created a theology of remembrance for His people. In Deuteronomy 5:15, as God is giving His people commandments to live by, he tells them to remember what God has brought them through! It is this foundation of remembering the works of God that drove many of the Jewish feast days and practices. All of it was designed to point to God who had delivered them in the past and would deliver them in the future.

As the pastor called us to participate in the ancient art of remembrance on Sunday I thought of Psalms 77:11-12, "I will remember the works of the Lord. Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! I will think about all you have done; I will reflect upon your deeds!” In my sorrow, I began to remember how God has provided time after time and my heart was settled.

The story doesn't end there; after leaving church I got a call from a friend of a friend in ministry who had a warehouse full of furniture they were willing to give to us for free.  I began the day worried about the lack of a toaster and ended the day eating dinner in our fully furnished new home! What a difference a day can make when we learn to remember God and trust him.

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