Reminders on the Journey

Memories and reminders both have something to do with the past, but they are very different things.  A memory recalls a fact or event.  A reminder can point us to the future.  Tying a string around your finger is a reminder.  The string may have been tied in the past, but it reminds us to think about the reason for tying the string.  It reminds us of something that is coming.

God pointed to the rainbow in the clouds as a reminder of His promise that there would never be another flood like the one in Noah’s time.  God made that promise.  Since He always remembers, the reminder was not for Him.  We have a habit of forgetting.  The rainbow is a reminder for us.  It is a reminder that there is love and joy and promise even through the hardships in life.  It is a reminder that the future can be better.

George Matheson was a man who distinguished himself through his intellect, graduating at the head of his class in classics, logic, and philosophy.  One of his greatest challenges stemmed from a degenerative illness that left him totally blind by the age of 20.  Twenty years later he wrote the famous hymn O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.  Though he had spent half his life sightless, the vision of the rainbow remained a special reminder to him of enduring joy in spite of hardships.  When you have read these words, close your eyes and see the rainbow as Matheson would have.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow thru the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

There will be reminders along the journey to the foot of the cross.  Reminders of God’s love.  Reminders of His promises.  Reminders that God has purpose and blessing for you.  They are more than memories.  They are promises for today.  Promises for the future.  God’s promises are never in vain.  Look for the reminders that God has placed for you to see.  Find the joy and encouragement that God has for you.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Peace in Promise, day 19 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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Fearfully Comforted

The scriptures tell us that there was no rain when the earth was new.  The plants were watered by mists that came out of the ground.  After Noah boarded the ark, springs of water burst from the deep and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.  What happened that day had never happened before and will never happen again.  The force and magnitude of that event were simply beyond anything else seen or recorded by man.  It must have been terrifying.  And yet the deadly, raging waters carried the ark and its occupants to safety.  By the grace of God, the fear was transformed to comfort.

Thousands of years later the son of an English shipmaster defied his father’s wishes and went to sea on a merchant vessel.  In the years that followed he was pressed into service with the British navy, abandoned by his shipmates, and forced into slave service.  He escaped from his captors and became deeply involved in slave trading himself.  Later he faced death from storms and illness.  During one especially bad storm he called out to God and was saved.  Like those on board Noah’s ark, his fear was transformed to comfort.  That is the story of John Newton, who is best known as the writer of the hymn Amazing Grace.  After his conversion he would go on to become a minister of the Gospel and a leader in the movement to abolish slavery.

Somewhat less well known, Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken was also written by John Newton.  Think about the waters that replace fear with comfort and life as you read these words.

See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.

Take encouragement from these words.  Even though the waters frightened Noah and John Newton in their times and the storms of life continue to rage about us today, the Lord gives us comfort.  Grace never fails from age to age.  Grace never fails from step to step.  Grace never fails.  Be fearfully comforted on your journey today.

Follow the Path!

[Use with In the Calm After the Storm, day 18 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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