My favorite psalm is Psalm 27. It has seen me through years of ups and some downs. It ends with a plea to wait for the Lord and take courage and a bold statement that the psalmist will look up on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
So I seek. There are moments of peril, moments when I beg for an indicator of what this goodness will look like, and moments when it billows around me like fluffy, wet snow dropping to the ground.
In the Old Testament, when God’s power had been displayed or a promise had been made, the people would set-up an altar as a reminder to, not only themselves, but the generations to come. In this lands of tears, I pray for altars to remind me of God’s faithfulness. I want to see reminders of His goodness and know that His promises and His love still stands. So sometimes I seek, and sometimes I sit and wait. But God’s goodness pursues me down every road in my life.
“And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.’” – Joshua 4:20-24, ESV
I seek out the altars of others, and I set up my own. Scripture verses, photographs, whatever triggers the memory of what He has done.
One of my favorite triggers is the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. When I was in high school, I needed to be reminded of God’s love. It might be a silly reminder, but as I poured over the pages describing Mr. Darcy’s relentless pursuit for Elizabeth, I saw how God is pursuing my heart.
I don’t always have the same sense of closeness, the fountain of bubbling emotion, as I felt the first time I realized the depth of the love of God, but I can always remember that it is true.
I have seen it. I have felt it.
And it will reveal itself again. As I walk through my house and notice Pride and Prejudice on my bookshelf, I am reminded of His love.
What reminds you of God’s love? Is it a photograph or a moment from a trip? Perhaps it is as simple as the sunrise?
Set reminders, visible reminders, and thank God for His work in your life. Write His goodness on your wall and on your heart, do not let the memories slip away. When times are hard, we need to know what is true. Setting reminders of God, of His goodness, keeps your eyes fixed on what is real.
Remember, altars are not supposed to be experienced alone! Spread His works across the generations in your reach and seek out an opportunities to share the goodness of the Lord with others.