Beyond Common

Awed by mountain views and canyon vistas, my camera was never far from reach. Everywhere I looked were new angles and breathtaking scenes.  I’m sure my husband grew tired of my requests to pull over or slow down (if there was no traffic) so I could capture it…although I did get pretty good at moving shots while we drove along.  Since we traveled off-season, the roads were less crowded and often we were the only people at a location.  Therefore, DSCN3894I also got lots of practice taking pictures of us in front of some new grand landscape by holding the camera at arm’s length and hoping for the best.  Most even had both of us in the shot, although some were way off-center.

And then, a subtle shift took place.  Early in the trip, even small scenery changes were captured in pictures.  By the end of our road trip, such subtleties barely drew a glance.  We would pull into an area set aside for scenic views and briefly look around before resuming our drive.

It wasn’t that we were rushed to get someplace else.  We built the itinerary to include slower scenic routes and allow for such stops to enjoy the views.  So, what happened?  The mountainous terrain that I loved and looked forward to viewing began to become familiar.  What had previously drew gasps of delight and a sense of wonder now were common sights.

Unfortunately, taking such grandeur for granted is not limited to landscapes and nature scenes.  With shame, I confess that I am more like the Israelites than I care to admit.

At times, I have contemplated how I would have responded if I had…

  • witnessed the plagues, experienced the parting of the Red Sea, or tasted the miracles of water and manna in the wilderness
  • heard the prophets clear call to obedience to the covenant
  • been alive when Jesus walked the earth and observed the miracles
  • _______________ (fill in the blank)

Perhaps, like me, you believe you would have been more faithful and obedient if only you had such evidences as they did.   It’s doubtful.  We are surrounded by proof of God’s presence and character that is equally valid.  In fact, we are so blessed that His provision has become common…and ignored.

When we are desperate for God to intervene in our health, finances, relationships, etc., we seek His face and are thankful for His answers.  When these needs are so frequently and consistently met, we run the risk of forgetting…as did the Israelites.

We are no different.  And the remedy is the same.

In Deuteronomy, Moses warned the Israelites (who had lived by God’s miracles for their very survival) that forgetting was a very real danger in the near future.  (Deut. 4:9, 23; 6:12; 8:11, 14, 19).  A common phrase is “Take care…lest you forget.”  The danger remains.  When life is good, we forget the very God who got us there.  The miraculous became common.

Looking at my vacation pictures reminds me of the beauty of the mountains.  The glimpse takes me back to real experiences.  Likewise, regularly acknowledging God helps me to remember his very real presence and provision.  The Israelites were commanded to retell the exodus story repeatedly to the current and future generations to help them remember.  The same works for us today.  Keeping a record of God’s faithfulness helps when memories start to fade.  Refer to it often to bolster your trust and faith, and guard your heart “lest you forget.”

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