We can look back on our lives and see that the Lord has done some amazing things. He has delivered us through very difficult times, he has helped us, and he has even done miracles.
Yet when we come to a new barrier, a new situation, a new wall in front of us hat seems impossible, spiritual amnesia hits. We stress about whether the Lord will help us this time. We wonder if He will help us get past this terrible and difficult season in which there seems no possible way out. We mainly hit this point because we can’t see a way out in our own understanding.
So we cry and grieve and pray to the Lord, but not with much expectation or belief. We are distressed in our spirit and frustrated in soul without much relief. And it seems like nothing is happening in the heavenlies. Where is the Lord?
Spiritual amnesia has hit.
This is exactly the place of what the Israelites. They are in the desert half way between Egypt and “the promised land.” But when scouts return from there, while they say the land is exceedingly good, they see that it’s heavily guarded. And in some places they are guarded by giants of the land. Additionally the cities are walled and heavily fortified. For a nation of desert wanderers that seems impossible.
The problem is that if they can’t defeat the people of the land, the men of Israel will be be slaughtered and the women will be sex slaves and the children heavy laborers. It’s one thing to read or hear about that as a possibility, but when it’s a very real possibility the reality of it overwhelming.
Joshua and Caleb spoke encouragement and life that God was giving them the good land. But it took ten others to spread fear that made the hearts of the Israelites tremble.
Spiritual amnesia has hit.
It’s so easy to look back and see that God has moved in our lives, but will he do it again? Will he help us get past this insurmountable wall this time?
“How long will this people despise Me? How long will they not trust in Me despite all the signs I have performed among them?” (Num 14:11).
Just to be open with you right now I am in that very place. I find myself in an awful, stressful, and sometimes unbearable situation. I have thought of every possible way and because other people are involved, it seems utterly impossible for anything to change.
And then I read these Scriptures and know that spiritual amnesia was deadly serious. There are no excuses. We are given minds that remember so we can remember.
But how do I deal with this mountainous wall in front of me? I remember. Literally, I remember. Remembrance and thanksgiving for the past is the key to faith and breakthrough for the present and future.
Instead of stressing in my prayer life, it’s time to remember and thank the Lord. Thank him for the breakthrough he gave me several years ago when one situation seemed impossible. Thank him and remember the relief he gave in the same year for a “people problem” that had no answers for resolution. But now is in a much better place. I remember the good things the Lord has given me to help provide relief from difficult situations.
I remember. And I thank the Lord.
And when I remember faith builds in my heart. I don’t know how the current situation will have any resolution. It seems by the minute it intensifies worse. But I don’t look at the impossible, I look at the past and look to God’s faithfulness. I believe he is pleased when our prayers are prayers of faith and not fear.
For the Israelites the Lord was so angry with them as he had performed multiple and extraordinary miracles. He had delivered them out of Egypt with a great and mighty hand, decimating Egypt in the process. He proved manna for them to eat and be sustained and meat for them from the heavens. A cloud was overhead by day to protect them from the searing desert heat and a fire at night to warm them in the freezing cold night. He had brought them safely to Mt Sinai and provided for them all along. Yet all they did was complain.
And so the Lord brought them discipline:
“Yet as surely as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, none of the men who have seen My glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested Me these 10 times and did not obey Me, will eve see the land I swore to give their fathers. None of those who have despised Me will see it (v. 23).
“You will know My displeasure.” (v. 34)
To not believe the Lord for the present or for the future when he has done extraordinary things for us in the past is “to despise him” (v. 11, 23). That is not a small matter.
When the Israelites felt the hot discipline of the Lord, they tried to go back and do what the Lord had said. But it was too late. Moses told them plainly not to do it, they would be routed and killed as God was not with them. And that very thing happened.
Does that mean there is no repentance? No. It just means things may have changed. What we are talking about is a serious matter.
So I have a choice and so do you. We can approach our “impossibles” with complaining and fret-filled prayer. Or we can remember and believe that the same God who helped us in the past has not abandon us.