13 2015
What Our Spiritual Past Can Reveal

What is the value in either recording or remembering our spiritual past? Is it to ponder how God spoke to us? How he loved us when we did not deserve it? Is it to remember how he provided for us when no human could or would? All of these and more are reasons to remember or better, write down what God is doing and saying in our lives when it occurs.

I have had several dreams in my past which I believed at the time concerned God’s present work in my life. They seemed to speak about current struggles, desires, and hopes. Years later I came to understand that these dreams were more likely prophecies about events that would happen years and sometimes decades later. Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22 certainly could refer to events in the time of the writer. Only in the fulfillment of Jesus’s death, however, do we see the full significance of these striking and unforgettable words.

Recently, I came upon a nearly blank, unlined book in my bookshelf. Back in seminary days, I used the rear pages to record book transactions in a small book business I conducted. I wrote nothing in it until nearly eight years later. In the front, there were two brief entries. The longer one is this:


April 1, 1985


The Monday after Palm Sunday. Holy Week finds me longing, yearning for spiritual refreshment. “When shall I come to behold the face of my God?” Sick, sick, sick of brokenness, worldliness, emptiness. My soul trusts in you, O God, you alone! I wither when my heart goes out to any false gods. There are no gods but you. The folly of youth haunts me. Save me, Lord, from the emptiness of middle years. There is a well somewhere. I pray to find it-to walk with God as Abraham did. O that my words and my heart were connected together. To the Scripture.


This is the heart cry that helped contribute, through many meanderings over many years, to Jacob’s Well coming to be. I could not have known that then. But it doesn’t matter. Jesus said, “I have many things to tell you but you cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12.) He makes known what we need to know when we need to know it. But looking back it is remarkable to see the faithfulness and persistent love of God, a love that will not let us go. Writing it down helps as a window into our spiritual world as it was. It helps to see the fulfillment when it comes. It increases our faith.

I pray that all of us would both remember and make verbal monuments to these “Ebenezers,” these stones of help God places upon our path as a reminder that he has not forgotten us and that if “his eye is on the sparrow..” Well, you know the rest.