"O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples." (Psalm 105:1)
The people were in exile. They felt loss and anguish. Yet, even in their most empty moments, they still have their memories. Memories can be fickle thoughts. Memories can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or consciously rewritten. For trustworthy memories, one must intentionally seek to be self-aware. Self-awareness requires the courage to honestly remember and evaluate our past.
The psalmist provides a litany of remembrances of how God remembered the people and blessed them throughout Biblical history. Even amidst exile, the psalmist had hope because even when times are tough, the same God who saved us in the past will find a way to bring salvation in our present and future.
In the same way that God carried me through hard times and brought me joyous times again, so too will that memory bring me hope for a future amidst present darkness. Reflect on at least three challenging times in your life. How did you respond amidst the pain? How did you get through the anguish and move forward in a positive way? Where might God have been in the midst of those healing situations? The same Spirit that guided the Israelites to the Promised Land, guides us through the trials and tribulations of this world, and brings us new hope and joy. After your time of remembrance, offer a prayer of gratitude for God's re-creation of hope and joy in our lives.