Like all of us, the pandemic has provided me with windows of time for introspection and reflection. In addition to planning and re-planning, I’ve also thought about God’s hand at work throughout this crazy time. I’m sure it was no accident that in the early days of the crisis, I was reading through Exodus, Deuteronomy, and into Joshua during my personal devotion time.
We can all think of trials in our lives that we’ve had to endure and periods of time where God was at work helping us pass through. When I think of the great “passing through” moments of the Bible, perhaps no two stick out more than God bringing His people through the Red Sea in Exodus and again at the beginning of Joshua through the Jordan River. Certainly, both instances came with a unique set of challenges on the front side and a strong set of benefits on the back side. Still, both examples must have felt like an insurmountable task as God’s people were positioned on the shore with nothing but water in front of them.
As I was reading those stories and remembering God’s faithfulness to bring His people to the other side, I couldn’t help but think about our current cultural moment. I’ve not found myself doubting God’s faithfulness during this time. I know He WILL bring us through this temporary circumstance. But, what has captivated more of my attention has been the aftermath of God’s delivery in both of these instances. Immediately after the crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites sang a song to recognize and remember the mighty work of the Lord. Immediately after crossing the Jordan, they picked up rocks and built a memorial to remember what God had done in their midst. But you don’t have to turn many more chapters past either of these stories to begin to see the we-saw-miracles-in-our-midst people begin to forget.
They start to complain. They start to doubt God’s faithfulness. They start to worship other gods. They start to do the very things that God has forbidden. I can’t help but think that we are in the midst of a great “passing through” moment. God’s faithfulness has and will continue to play out for us in some amazing ways. How fast will you be, how fast will I be, to forget what we have seen Him do? Will our unique dependence on Him during these days turn instantly back to self-reliance as soon as things have opened back up? Will we be given to complaining, or worse, to disobedience as we fail to remember the goodness of the Lord to us in how He carried us through?
As we lead young adult ministries and live our faith journeys in front of people desperate to see how trials will shape our response to a loving God, I pray that we will not forget the goodness of God and instead we will build into our lives the discipline of remembering. As we recognize the faithful hand of God, even during trying times, may we be quick to point others to His goodness as well!
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.