Seek the Lord and his strength;ESV
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered.
In the middle of England lies this treasure known as the Cotswolds – pretty little villages that once flourished because of the wool industry. These towns span a huge land area that has been officially recognized for its extraordinary beauty, otherwise known as AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). A trip to the Cotswolds is an opportunity to see some of the loveliest sceneries that England is known for. As a matter of fact, an image of the Cotswolds, specifically that of a row of cottages in Bibury, Gloucestershire, is featured on the inside front cover of every British passport.
We hopped on a tour of the Cotswolds in the afternoon of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. It was a very quiet day without the huge volume of sightseers from all over the world that this major tourist attraction usually receives. In a span of six hours, we saw for ourselves why countless others have fallen in love with this piece of England. Aside from the unparalleled charm, which Steven Spielberg himself realized upon selecting the town of Castle Combe for the movie War Horse, to me there was, likewise, a kind of aura or a peaceful nostalgia that makes these villages special. It felt as though someone pressed the PAUSE button at some point in their history. There are no new developments, no modern amenities that would ruin the ambiance created by the limestone cottages, thatched roofs, old bridges, and running brooks. The surroundings simply invite one to walk (or sit) and relish the beauty of the past.
But why recall the past when nothing can be done about it? Isn’t the present all that matters? Author Corrie Ten Boom survived a Nazi concentration camp. In today’s language, one could say that war interrupted her normal. She became acquainted with lots of suffering, pain and loss, and yet because of her faith in God, this is what she had to say about the past.
“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place
In the bible, there were many times when God commanded His people to remember what He has done. Prayers of psalmists are filled with words recalling both the mercies and judgments of God. Bringing to mind who God is and how He manifested his love and sovereignty in the past is meant to be a source of strength to those who serve Him. It would be pointless, though, to draw encouragement from the past if God is not absolutely faithful and true. If there is the slightest chance that He might have a weakness or that His love for us may change, how is remembering helpful? But because the God that we worship is steadfast and unchanging, we can and should derive comfort and courage in looking back and pondering all that He has done, lest we forget how amazingly good He has been. He who has loved the world from the very beginning, continues to do so.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,ESV
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
In the old days in Tetbury, to reach the market, people climbed up the chipping steps carrying sacks of flour and other goods to be sold. As I was climbing up those same steps, I kept looking back and taking photos of the picturesque view behind me. It was not at all because I disliked the view in front of me. (Remember, this is the Cotswolds. Picturesque is everywhere). But it gladdened my heart to see that each step that I took forward, lengthened the path behind me and broadened the perspective that my little camera phone could capture. And I was grateful for that, just as I am thankful for all that He allows the eyes of my heart to see when I look back at the seasons of life through which He has taken me.
So what has the Lord reminded you of lately? What is it that you need to ponder? What holy remembrance has His Spirit renewed in your heart?
Press the PAUSE button, and let the memories lead you to a place of prayer.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;ESV
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.