“And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?’” (Mark 8:17-18 ESV)
There are things that we always will remember, and there are things we fail to remember that we never should forget.
I’ve read the entire New Testament numerous times in my years as a Christian. And throughout those readings I’ve always felt that the pre-resurrection disciples were kind of daft. They made a habit of asking Jesus questions to which the answer should have been obvious, or questions that really made little sense.
This morning, however, I have changed my opinion. I think that I am the one who is a bit daft. While not making too much of myself, I saw for the first time that I was just like the disciples. I have lived my faith life according to the definition of insanity–doing the same things over and over expecting different results–instead of absorbing and remembering the lessons I have learned from my experiences with God. I feel as though I’ve been held back a few grades in the school of the Spirit for failure to learn.
Paul described me, and perhaps you, in this way: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, “for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child” (Hebrews 5:12 -13 ESV).
I’m not saying that you or I are lacking in biblical knowledge. I think that we live in a time when there is an abundance of biblical knowledge. We have answers only a Google search away. But I believe we often mistake biblical knowledge for wisdom. Knowledge comes easily; Wisdom requires experience. Or, perhaps I should say, wisdom requires experience and reflection.
I have had some wonderful learning experiences. Some of those experiences I have had the opportunity to learn from several times! That’s because God will allow us to go through things until we finally learn from them! I don’t begrudge Him for this; it’s only by His grace, mercy and unbelievably abundant patience that I’ve survived as long as I have. Perhaps you can identify!
We are generally so glad to have come through to the other side of our tests and trials that we don’t always take pause to reflect. We Don’t want to waste any of our precious time thinking about the difficulties we endured. But this is where we err. We need to look back and recognize God’s hand. We need to identify and lock into our memory those things which helped us through.
This is not only important for learning how to get through life’s challenges, but in learning to avoiding some of them as well. It also is a great tool for growing our faith. When we look back and see how God was with us in all of those times, we lock in our minds an ever-deepening confidence in God’s incredible love for us.
I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to spend some time this week reflecting on things that you have made it through with God’s help. What thoughts or practices can you identify that helped you through? How can those past experiences help you today?