The past can give you hope for the future
Married people make it their business to remember how love began. Anniversaries recall their wedding day, year after year. Wedding rings remind them of their commitment. Wedding photos capture the moment when “two become one.” In remembering the beginning of their love, couples often find new hope for the future.
Forgetting, on the other hand, amounts to treason. If one person forgets the all-important anniversary, tears and anger may follow.
An Anniversary Day
The book of Psalms remembers too. When things get bad, these poems often refer to the past—particularly to the great events when, under Moses, the Israelite nation began. God freed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, carried them through the Red Sea, gave them directions for living and ushered them into the promised land. This miraculous beginning was as significant to Jews as the cross is to Christians.
The Israelites even had an “anniversary day”—known as Passover—to remember it. Every spring, Passover reminded them of their escape from Egypt. It’s no accident that Easter often falls in the same week. Both days celebrate liberation from slavery.
The memories weren’t all positive. The Israelites could, in fact, be brutally frank about their early failings. Even as they remembered how persistently faithful God had been, they also remembered how rebellious, complaining and forgetful they had been. Yet they had one great, happy reason to celebrate: God had kept his promise to love them.
Hope in a Time of Despair
Psalm 77 is a “remembering” poem. It starts with deep despair. “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? . . . Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (77:7,9). Imagine a wife asking such questions about her husband.
Then thoughts turn, deliberately, to the past. Remember the turmoil at the banks of the Red Sea? Could anything be worse? But in that turbulent water they had seen the Lord’s power: God had led them through to safety. He would do the same again.
The historical psalms (77, 78, 105, 106) invite us, along with the Israelites, to relive history. Like married couples remembering back, we can recall God’s work—his powerful victories recorded all through Scripture, his promises and proofs of love toward his people. And we can refer to God’s history with us as individuals, too. Who cannot count some blessings, some undeserved favors? Through such remembering, we are strengthened to face the future and to recommit ourselves to trusting God’s care.
If you were to refer to a single past event for encouragement, what would it be?
Taken from NIV Student Bible