In November, Pete and I celebrated forty years of marriage, a milestone that coincides with his dairy farming career. Thus we find ourselves on the cusp of a new season, in a strange form of quasi-retirement, with newfound freedoms and financial realities that thoroughly unsettle me!
By God’s perfect timing, this week I’m concluding a study of Deuteronomy.^ It picks up with the children of Israel on the threshold to the promised land. They’d wandered the desert forty years — only to find themselves 11 days’ walk from where they’d started! Despite their stubborn obstinance, God stayed with them every step.
Deuteronomy reveals some fascinating details, how God was faithful to meet every need, from daily bread and meat to enduring attire and healthy feet. Literally, they lacked nothing.
For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing. Deuteronomy 2:7
I’m so encouraged, stepping through Deuteronomy. I’m reminded to remember what God has done. Just like the children of Israel, I was prone to wander. Through all the twists and turns of my journey, He never missed a step. He’s been faithful; I’ve lacked nothing!
Ours was an inauspicious start: married as teenagers, uneducated, a baby on the way. But, God! Carrying that baby to term, experiencing God’s unconditional love through our precious bundle of boy, was the beginning of my long journey to live “healthy, whole and free.”
God’s name is Redeemer. He will redeem anything — even my hot mess, or yours.
Over these weeks of study, I’ve remembered how God rescued us, and set us on the right path in 1982. He’s been faithful to sustain us. He’s restored us, sometimes spectacularly, as through Pete’s deadly silo accident. He’s kept us, even as the fabric of our union frayed or began to unravel. He’s preserved our children in danger and on threats to their lives. He’s led us through fire, flood, and life-circumstances threatening to overwhelm and destroy. Only God!
These weeks of remembering were preceded by months of mourning beloved Aunt Bea. She knew God’s faithfulness full well. Choosing to walk carefully in His ways, His goodness and glory was on display.
Paying tribute recently at Arlington National Cemetery, I said:
“… Bea was like the tree the psalmist speaks of, planted by the stream, bearing fruit in season, with leaf that doesn’t wither (Psalm 1:1-3). Always, in every season of her life, she was pouring in.
Aunt Bea’s was a life of exceptional faithfulness before the Lord. Over 86 ordinary years, her faith-investments compounded in treasures stored up in heaven. …
… As I considered what she might say to those of us gathered today, her Bible gave many clues. Passages underlined, highlighted, thin pages stained, nearly worn through. That’s how I know she’d declare with the psalmist:
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Psalm 25:10
And, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the work of the Lord” Psalm 118:17
To be perfectly honest, I’ve been stuck since Aunt Bea crossed over to glory. I didn’t understand my lack of focus, or low-level energy. But these past weeks, in preparing remarks, and reviewing hundreds of photos, I’ve sensed a shift — from mourning Aunt Bea to remembering. God was faithful to her, and through her, to me, and to so many others.
In remembering, my heart has healed.
Deuteronomy Is a clarion call to remember who God is, what He’s done, and who we are in Him. It’s a call to acknowledge the goodness of God in the land of the living. Deuteronomy is a call to choose life — for ourselves and the generations.
I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days. Deuteronomy 30:19-20
God is my life, and length of days, as He was for my Aunt Bea. His glory is on display, through hardships and heartache, disasters and disruptions, we find Him faithful. Time is the delta by which we see the redemption of the Lord in each valley, dark or deep.
Numerous passages in this study of Deuteronomy have pierced my heart and encouraged my spirit, but the very first was this:
The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.’ Deuteronomy 1:6
I’ve been long enough on this mountain, friends. I’m moving on, by the power of the Spirit who raised Jesus and my Aunt Bea. I’m trusting fully in the God who’s always been faithful to me. I remember.
~ Sincerely, Sondra
^ I study online through First 5. It’s a marvelous way to go deeper daily in the Word. A new study of Ruth starts next week! You’ll find a study for any and every book of the Bible in the archives. Check it!