I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but… I love how every song I hear has a memory attached to it. Or a story. Or a person it reminds me of. Seriously, EVERY song. Who needs scrapbooks when you have a radio… it evokes the same nostalgic feelings and it’s cheaper. I’ve been realizing lately that somewhere along the way, scripture started doing the same thing. There are certain passages that have inconspicuously adopted to themselves memories of my past that I can’t help but be reminded of when I read them. Sometimes it’s something that happened, a season I went through, a conversation I had, or a person I’m reminded of. I love it though… in the vast sea of scripture, it creates a sense of belonging and settledness.
Today I experienced a moment like this… an instant trip down memory lane… when I came across the “don’t worry” passage of Matthew 6. As I was reading these familiar words, I was instantly brought back to the morning I arrived in Moscow… it was the summer of 2004… I had just graduated from college with a gold sticker on my diploma, but no clue what to do next in life. The only thing for certain was that I was spending the summer in Russia. I had been there many times before but it was always with groups... and an itinerary… and I only stayed for 2 weeks tops. That morning reality sank in that I was halfway around the world, alone, not really sure what I was supposed to be doing there and how to survive regular day to day life… so on my little apartment couch I had a minor freak out session.
God led me to this exact passage in Matthew 6. I know theologians often argue over whether to interpret scripture literally or figuratively… but let me tell you, in that moment I was claiming these words as literally as I could! Because one of my main concerns for myself was how on earth I was going to stay fed. I was living near a forest on the outskirts of Moscow, so I very well couldn’t take the metro into town to get a cheeseburger at McDonalds every time I was hungry! God met me on that couch that morning with his promises of provision and care. And here I am seven years later remembering that moment like it was yesterday.
Here’s the cool thing, though, about being on the other side of the experience now- the memory allows for sweet feelings and smiles rather than the fear and anxiety that swallowed me that morning. Because I know now how things turned out… how amazing that summer ended up being, the incredible ministry God allowed me to be a part of, and that there was absolutely no reason at all to fear the details of living during my summer there… looking back, my mini-freak out seems so unwarranted! That’s the beauty of having memories attached to scripture I suppose- it’s a personal reminder that God’s words are true, that we've lived them firsthand, and that we can rest in His promises. They’re not just empty words- they are meant for us!
I hope that you can have some of these sweet moments too… remembering times when God’s word came alive in a very real and memorable way. May we never forget where we’ve been and the lessons we’ve learned along the way… and may these memories encourage us when we need to be reminded of how good God is…