Thanksgiving Memorial

Soren Kierkegaard once said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards”.

We look back to our yesterdays and look forward to our tomorrows. How we see our days behind will influence how we will live our life tomorrow.

There may be two types of people on this matter.

This is the story of the Israelites in Massah and Meribah. It was written in Exodus 17:1-7. The Israelites just came out of Egypt and en route to the Promised Land. Before they very eyes, they saw how Pharaoh who were their most feared enemy gone under the water of the Red Sea. They walked through the sea in between the wall of water on the dry land crossing the Red Sea. And then God brought them to Elim, where there were 12 water springs and 70 date trees. God also provided them with the bread from heaven, the manna. All those are supernatural events, beyond words to describe. It does not repeat again in the history. How majestic those events are!

However that’s not how they looked back. Their words are full with regret, bitterness, murmur and curses. “If only we were still in Egypt…Ah Moses, why did you want to kill us here on the desert? It’s all because of you!”

So, they looked forward to their future with gloomy heart and face. “So Moses, you want us to die here in the desert? Can God help us? Does he exist, even?” The Bible painfully recorded this event, …”the Israel tempted God and said, “Is there God among us?”

Now, let’s see to another story. The story of Samuel.

The Israelites was under the oppression of the Philistines. So, they cried out to God. Samuel led the Israelites to fight against the Philistines and God gave them the victory. The Israelites chased after the Philistines and defeted them at Bet-Kat. The Bible recorded this beattifully “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

And the Lord did not stop helping them after that point, it is written there that the hand of the Lord stood against the Philistines as long as Samuel lived

O, Lord, how faithful you are. How much I regret that this sketches of writing would not suffice to describe how great is your faithfulness to me.

Whenever I looked back, it is indeed not an easy journey ( at least for me). Sometimes I think – just like the journey of the Israelites – God is very inefficient. Why could not God brought the Israelites faster to the Promised Land? He who could split the sea, he has not trouble to make miracle and fly all of them right away to the destination.

Why must there confrontations with Pharaoh, the bitter water, the dry desert, etc.

If I look back, I so wish to complain too. The ups and downs, the storm and thunder. The worry and anxieties.

God whispered to me softly ,”“…but I never fail you, right?

Indeed. My life has proven that God is good. That he has helped me thus far. He held my hand to walk one step at a time. Thus far, he has helped me and he is faithful. Tomorrow he will help me again for he is faithful always. And all my life his goodness is chasing after me.

Maybe in my smartass mind, I see God as inefficient. If I do coding, why would I have to write many lines of code, if I can use a short cut?

But no matter what, even in “his inefficiency” I learn how much he loves me.

Thus far, God helps me. I pause and stay grateful. And I build the stone and set it up in my heart, putting my trust in him that he will always be faithful and help me.

One more time.

O, Lord, how faithful you are. How much I regret that this sketches of writing would never suffice to describe how great is your faithfulness to me.

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