All of us like to remember special occasions and recognize various milestones throughout our lives. Most acknowledge and celebrate the passing of years, educational achievements, career advancements, or relational developments. We mark with grand gestures such notable occasions as weddings, the birth of children, engagements, and even the passing of aged loved ones. The parade of cheers and accolades echo long after the occasion has come and gone.
We enjoy celebrating life’s crowning moments and are quick to broadcast these noteworthy events via social media, email, newspaper, and even the postal service. We want the defining moments in our lives to be noticed and given the attention we feel they are worthy of. We want our successes to be spotlighted and our achievements to be applauded and praised. We bow center stage as a host of onlookers: family, friends, and associates recognize our forward and positive life trajectory.
A Day to Remember
Recently, we celebrated a day on our calendar, known as Memorial Day. And while many mark the day with fanfare, it is really a day of solemn remembrance. It is a day to acknowledge the sacrifice of the ultimate kind. It is a day when freedom and democracy count the overwhelming cost. Marked by the sting of death, grief, and pain this day beckons us to remember, and so we do! We remember what some might prefer or choose to forget because it is hard, painful, and uncomfortable. Perhaps it is even thought tragic and wrought with exceeding sorrow; yet, out of death comes life, regeneration, growth, freedom, and peace!
The battlefields of life are often marred with sacrifice. Life can be cruel, hard, vicious, and painful. Sometimes what is left scattered and strewn in the rubble of divorce, addiction, financial ruin, tragedy, or illness causes our spirit to feel withered and devoid of joy. A lackluster enthusiasm for life and a bleak outlook for the future resemble the most bitter of winters deep within us. Life leaves us cold and our minds can fixate on the devastation that lies at our feet hindering even the smallest step.
It is here, dear beloved of God, when life demands every ounce of our strength and fortitude, that our fight kicks in and the battle that rages begins to test our limits. Ephesians 6:13 says,
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Ephesians 6:13
Know without doubt that victory on the battlefield of life is made possible through Christ. He is our hope when sacrifice has demanded much of us! Psalm 31:24 encourages us this way,
“Be strong and let your heart be courageous, all ye who put your hope in the Lord.”Psalm 31:24
Without question there are times in life when we can feel overcome with its challenges and demands. I too have experienced the deep sorrow and grief of an unfaithful spouse, the pain of divorce, being estranged from a wayward child, financial strain and hardship, and even the death of a dear loved one. But, “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
And rather than succumb to the uncertainty of the circumstance, we can find safety and rest from the fight in Him. Proverbs 18:10 tells us, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.”
Yes, the intensity of the battlefield may demand much, and sacrifice is often required; the fearful mother who stays in a marriage “for the sake of her children”, the spouse who seeks to forgive repeated infidelity, the single parent who struggles to work several jobs to make ends meet, the couple who realizes the sale of a dream home and possessions is necessary to reduce living expenses and cost, the loss of a career job, the numerous bedside vigil’s due to illness or impending death by a daughter, son, husband, wife, or parent. Are any of these battlefields familiar to you? Maybe your battlefield looks a little different but is equally brutal and fierce. Take courage! Isaiah 40:29 reminds us that, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” It is in that power from on high that we can fight!
Victory in Jesus
Our victory and freedom are ahead of us. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Ultimately, we win! Romans 8:37 reassures us of our victory! It says, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours, (we are more than conquerors, NIV) through Christ, who loved us.” It is with that awareness that we can march boldly forward into the future according to Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
However, it is important that we look back and remember! Did you know that the Hebrew word meaning “to remember” is memorial? We as human beings have a propensity to forget sometimes. In the Old Testament, Moses warned the people to “be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt.” (Deut. 6:12) The children of Israel were issued a challenge not to forget their “battlefield” and that God had given them the victory and freedom from it. We too, need to remember!
One of my favorite Biblical characters is Joshua. God directed Joshua to have the children of Israel to build a memorial. (Stones of Remembering) In Joshua 4:1-24 you can read the entire account of the specific instructions and how they were carried out according to God’s design. These memorial stones were to become a reminder of their own personal victory experience. They were a visible trigger, prompting them to give testimony of God’s strength and provision for their lives. Although the battle could have overtaken them, they were able to stand in victory, gaining their freedom over the enemy! They were to leave the memorial as a visible sign and witness, a legacy for generations to come. Oh, that we would do the same!
Do not stay focused on the scars or the battlefield itself; nor the sacrifices made while the battle ensued, but rather what was accomplished through it! Life, hope, freedom, victory, and peace is ours today and evermore because our God, Jehovah, fought for us and enabled us to escape the battlefield standing strong, bold, courageous, and firm in the power of His might!
Remember This Day!
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might….that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, Stand.”Ephesians 6:10, 13
Read also: Your scars tell a story