Note to the blogfamily: I've been caught in that tangle of "so much has been going on that I can't separate any one thread to write about". We went to Italy in October, truly a wonderful experience in many ways. Hopefully I'll leave breadcrumbs here and there of the riches we found. Today, though, I offer you something else.
Psalm 96:3 says "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples." This is one of the easiest commandments of Scripture to obey, because when God does wonderful things, it is an amazing experience to tell, recount, recall and praise.
When I married my first husband, he was at risk of being deported from the United States for one of those offenses that were common in the hippie culture of the '60s and '70s. Our desire to remain was more than simple preference; Dave felt a specific call from God to serve in Ann Arbor, where I continue to live to this day. We were prepared for a years-long legal battle, up to and including the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, through a series of events that had God's fingerprints all over them, the cause for deportation was spontaneously dropped by the government several months after our marriage and (wonder of wonders) the bureaucracy of the Immigration Service put his permanent visa in our hands a mere 2 days after the decision was made.
Thereafter, every April 24 in our family was "Visa Day". Each year, we had a special dinner and recounted the story of how God had shown mercy to us and displayed his power on our behalf. As one of the Allied commanders stated in his report after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II, the positive outcome was attributable to the "definite partiality of Almighty God." We never forgot it.
I remember a retreat day I went on with a longtime friend. We took our Bibles, spiritual reading, notebooks and pens to an apartment in the woods for a day of prayer and reflection. What ended up happening, though, is that we began talking about the action of God in our lives, past and present and never quit. It was an amazing experience of being inspired, drawn into Christ's love, being filled with gratitude, and giving God glory. From time to time, as we spoke about our children, our hopes, our disappointments, we would move into praying for those things or expressing our heartfelt thoughts directly to God. Then we would continue with recollections. It was one of the most wonderful retreats I've ever been on.
In Joshua, chapter 4, God commanded the Hebrews to erect 12 large stones on the bank of the Jordan where the ark had rested as a memorial of his great work of bringing them into the Promised Land. "Proclaiming his marvelous deeds" serves as a visit to the memorial stones of our lives.
Let's never forget.
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