The Christmas lights twinkled, and my French press coffee was hot in my insulated mug, when I sat down to write an hour before my rheumatologist appointment. It was gray, listless, and cold outside but warm and bright inside. My heart felt somewhere between the two: a tiny bit hopeful, a little numb — lukewarm, like my coffee would soon become. This appointment was to check on a positive preliminary test for any number of autoimmune diseases that I’m hereditarily prone to.
One of my biggest fears was looming, but it’d be a while before any clear direction or answers came. I knew this, and I was at peace with it the day of the initial appointment. But when I’d received the lab result a few months prior? Defeat knocked me on my rear end, and fear swept in like a sudden blizzard. When would the proverbial other shoe drop and usher in a new season of chronic pain? This was the question that spoke my biggest fear. I’d grown up with chronic pain in the form of hip dysplasia from age eleven until twenty-two when God healed me through hip replacements.
I thought I was done with chronic pain — and now there was a chance of it coming back in a new form.
When our bodies go through trauma, even if it’s to activate a removal of pain, our hearts never forget. They carry scars of their own that ache a little when physical pain reappears.
Memory is a powerful thing, both in our bodies and in our souls. Muscle memory has to relearn how to walk on a new joint like I did. Our soul’s memory learns to be extremely cautious and stingy with our hope, doubting something good could happen.
After my rheumatology appointment — where the doctor spoke with positivity and hope, ordering further labs but doubting they’d find anything — I began to breathe again. God then used my husband to tough-lovingly push me to confess and act on remembering, and it slowed my scattered spinning-in-anxiety over this mild health scare. I remembered what God had already done in my life, which reminded me of what He was capable of now. Remembering what God has done and how He has led in my past helped me choose courage and faith for my present and future.
Even if my fears do come to pass, He is the same God who moves mountains, sets the seas and skies in their boundaries, and so much more.
This whole remembrance idea is biblical. The entire Old Testament as well as much of the New Testament call for constant remembrance because God knows we are prone to forget. Psalm 77 is a prayer we can use to practice this remembrance in a tangible way when we need to process our emotional turmoil, fear, questions, and anxiety. In this psalm, Asaph is deeply disturbed and cannot be comforted — which I could so relate to at this point in my life, and let’s be honest, I can still relate to often.
Sometimes, the pain and trouble of life, the growing pains of seasons changing, or staying stagnant can steal our words like it did for Psalmist who was so troubled he couldn’t speak.
Have you had moments like this during these pandemic times in which we’ve been living for almost a year?
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search . . .
Psalm 77:6 (ESV)
This was intentional action, followed by Asaph asking himself, Do you believe God is who He said He is? Asaph knew the words God had spoken before — that He would not spurn forever, that His steadfast love would never cease but would endure for all generations (verses 7-8).
It’s not like Asaph had utterly forgotten God existed. Remembering is about reminding our souls, engaging in light and truth to fight the good fight of faith through the dark and our fears. Asaph did this beautifully in the rest of the Psalm:
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:11-13 (ESV)
What in your story causes a hitch in your breath, a wince, or sigh? Is it a diagnosis coming back, another child facing hardship or walking far from God? Another year of singleness and countless weddings? A negative pregnancy test?
What do you hope doesn’t happen — what do you wish to happen?
There is power in confessing these fears frankly and honestly before God, as many Psalms beautifully exemplify in addition to Psalm 77.
Confessing the dark parts of our hearts and admitting our fears make room for light to come in. It awakens our soul’s memory to unfurl and take action, to practice remembrance because God always has us in view and on His heart. He never forgets us. And this is good news.Leave a Comment