It’s a sickness occurring everyday in the lives of God’s people! Every time we choose to look at and respond to a circumstance without the Lord, His character, His Love, His power, His wisdom, His faithfulness, His promises we are practicing spiritual amnesia.
Ten of the twelve spies sent from among the children of Israel to scout out the land of Canaan, the land that God had promised to give them as an inheritance concluded: “we are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:31). A decision was made about what they were (and were not) able to do solely on their own abilities and strengths. They had somehow forgotten about God destroying the entire Egyptian army in their defense through His hand alone and the ongoing daily miracles of sustaining their lives with manna from heaven. Spiritual amnesia was clouding their thinking and perverting their judgment. It would cost them the “promised land”.
How often do we get stuck deciding not to do something simply because we’ve concluded “we are not able” based on our own abilities and resources?
Joshua and Caleb however, in spite of what they saw with their eyes, in spite of the influences of their peers, chose to see the present challenge in light of the powerful Presence of God. “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Number 13:30) “If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us” (Numbers 14:8) By choosing to view the obstacles through a lens of faith they were enabled to embrace a vision of possibilities. The possibilities of what could be when you take God at His word and partner with Him through faith and obedience.
Don’t allow spiritual amnesia to prevent you from experiencing the promises of God. Take Him at His Word and engage prayerfully with Him through the decisions, challenges and choices you make. As you do, a renewed vision of possibilities will be opened to you!
I wrote this after considering what it might have been like for Luke to sit down on a cool afternoon and interview Mary while gathering information to write his account of the Gospel. (aka "The Gospel of Luke") I pray the Lord uses it to stir your heart with fresh thoughts on the wonder of Christ-mas.
“I was young and fearful,” she continued, delighting in the opportunity to share what she had treasured for so long. However the bittersweet sting of those distant memories brought her back to that strange place. Strange, not only because it lacked the warmth and comfort of home but because their destination had taken them so far away from those that would have surrounded her with nurturing, knowledgeable care. As she continued to relay her story, she could almost feel the chill of that dark, dank cave on her now aged skin and smell the putrid air once again. “I remember so many questions and unspoken concerns that plagued my young heart that night. Questions like, ‘Did I make a mistake in coming?’ or ‘If only I hadn’t insisted on staying an extra day before leaving maybe we could have gotten better lodging’. Oh, but these thoughts came and went as the sudden pangs of the next contraction seized me. The time was near, and we needed to do what had to be done, so my husband and I made the best of what seemed like a bad situation. He was strong and patient, but I could see the concern mixed with fear in his eyes. There we were, seemingly all alone, and feeling somehow like we had failed. Never the less, nature took its course, and there in that drafty, damp, cold, smelly place He was born. Using what was available, Joseph removed the ‘swaddling cloths’ from his waist. I then took the long gauze like strips and gently wrapped up the baby’s soft fragile tiny body for warmth. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the significance of wrapping Him in what is normally reserved for a traveler’s death …burial clothes.”
A long pause hung in the air as she pondered that moment.
Luke then gently asked, trying to thoroughly uncover all the facts from this amazing yet humble woman, “So you were all alone that night? Besides you and Joseph there were no other witnesses to His birth?”
“Yes and no,” Mary thoughtfully replied with a slight grin on her face as if she was about to reveal some hidden secret treasure.
“We had visitors. Not the kind you might expect for the arrival of a King, but you and I both know that Jesus is no ordinary King. I was exhausted and needed to rest,” she resumed, “and although my arms longed to hold Him close, both Joseph and I thought it best not to have the baby on the filthy wet floor. So Joseph did what he could to make the feeding trough sanitary, dry, and warm. I laid there intent on capturing the sound of every breath and movement of my newborn babe as my mind again began to question if we had somehow missed God’s direction or could’ve made better choices. At the same time, I was awe struck with the wonder and responsibility of birthing God’s Son who was so tiny and dependant. Dependant on me, His mother! With my thoughts and emotions swirling, I drifted off to sleep whispering a prayer expressing both my concern and amazement. The next thing I remember, Joseph was gently waking me up to alert me of visitors. I did my best to compose myself as Joseph brought the only lamp we had closer. The visitors humbly came into the light, and as they did their faces seemed to radiate with joy. Hardly able to contain themselves these men shared with great animation details about what they had witnessed. (A MULTITUDE OF ANGELS REJOICING!!) I could barely hold back the tears! All my doubts and questions were melting with every word they spoke. Suddenly in my heart, I was overwhelmed with the intimate knowledge that we were precisely where we were supposed to be. Sending these shepherds, directly to us, to adore their Savior, God had affirmed and encouraged us! There were many things that I would not be able to understand in the days and years to come, but what I did know and was convinced of in that moment I tucked securely in my heart as a treasure to ponder and an anchor for my soul: ‘God with us’.”
“But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2