It's sad how quickly we forget. It's often even funny.
Today I taught in the Discipleship Training School at our base about human trafficking and sexual exploitation. As I shared stories of lives transformed, of freedom found, of miraculous healing, of encounters with the Lord, of God's hand over our ministry, of the supernatural-undeniable God experiences that we have witness & taken part it- I realized something. The longer I shared, the more excited I became about what we are doing here in Costa Rica. The more my passion increased but more importantly the more my faith was raised. As I told stories about God miraculously healing people after we prayed- I remembered how it felt when I saw God's power as 'God the Healer' that first time. I shared about the depth of brokenness that we encounter but that no depth we have have ever seen has been to deep for Jesus's healing power. I shared about lives completely, radically transformed- people finding the strength to walk off of the streets, out of a life of bondage, and into total freedom. As I spoke the truth of these stories, I felt my faith rise. I began to recall.
We so often get caught up in the going and the doing- the ministry never stops, there are always more needs to meet. Even in other realms of the Christian life- the kids always have one more soccer game, there's always more deadlines, more bills, more business, more running around to do, new stress, new challenges. How quickly we forget.
In the Old Testament of The Bible, the Israeli people built monuments in locations where God did amazing things! They built these monuments so that they could remember- and so that future generations could see them and ask- in order that they may share with them what God did!
They also gave God a new name after each time they had a wonderful encounter with Him or were revealed another aspect of His character through an experience with Him. "Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, 'You are the God who sees me.'" Genesis 16:13
I laugh at myself each month when it comes times for us to pay our bills. Living as missionaries who live off of donations and faith, I often find myself in a very "faith-testing" spot. Almost every month, I find myself worrying 'How are we going to pay ____', 'How are we going to make ends meet', 'I wonder if there will be enough'. And EVERY single month, God is faithful.... AGAIN. And at the end of every month, I find myself laughing at myself again. It's like groundhog day- surprise, God was faithful once again just like He has been ever single month for the past 2.5 years. You'd think after 29 consecutive months I'd finally catch on. God can not change WHO He is- but I desperately need to change HOW I see Him. God is so patient with us- it should have been enough when He first showed me this truth a few weeks before I left for the mission field.... sitting beside the lake wondering if I had lost my mind- why in the world would I ever quit my job to serve God- I knew plenty of people who were amazing servants, heros of God who did it THROUGH their jobs..... but I KNEW that I had heard God loud and clearly- and He had made the details very clear- as I battled these conflicting ideas in my head in near panic, my phone rang.... there was an anonymous donation given in my name that cover the rest of the money that I had needed for my first year in missions. In my spirit, there was no way to deny that it was none other than God.
How could I doubt His love for me when I remember the cross? How could I doubt how personal He is, or that He is a God who speaks to us, when I look back in my journals to all of the times He did speak ever so clearly. How can I forget even for a second that He is the God who Provides when I look back on the past 26 months of my life where His provision has been so abundantly obviously that there is no way to reason or logic myself out of acknowledging that it came from Him.
It brings tears to my eyes to remember the first time when I, like Hagar, had the revelation that God is the God who sees me... what a precious, sweet moment... an invaluable moment when something that you have heard or read all of your life falls from your "mind/head" into your heart- that change of location only happens through a real encounter with the living God.
How can we forget that there is no-one too far from God's redemption and restoration when I have the pictures on my desktop of people we have walked with to leave the streets whose entire life screams "It's never to late." Make no mistake, each person who our ministry has seen leave the streets & find a new life has NOT been our doing whatsoever- it was ALL and ONLY through God!
This is the red-sea parting, the lion mouth shutting, the Sidney's heart restoring, the pimp's wife healing, the broken girl redeeming God! The one who has done such incredible things in my life that it should be impossible to ever doubt!
Maybe we should build a few more monuments in our lives to remember who God revealed Himself to be- let us not forget- let us never be too busy to see- let us not let the enemy whisper in our ears that it was not God who did those great things when we know that we asked in His name! Let us be open and hungry to experience the different aspects of our beloved father God and engrave them so deeply on our hearts that no weapon of darkness can wipe them off.
What an amazing God we have.