Looking back in our post archives, I came across one from January 5, 2016 with encouraging words from Charles Spurgeon. Four years ago, these words came to us at a time we needed to be reminded of them and they are certainly applicable today. We have all been greeted and toasted recently with wishes for a Happy New Year. Friends have offered their blessings for what this year will bring. Maybe you have been making specific to-do lists for this new year–things to add, and possibly things to remove from your life.
Yet, mixed in with all of these plans is probably some apprehension about what 2020, or the next decade, will bring. In thinking about this today, I wanted to again embrace Charles Spurgeon’s words. He teaches us that the greatest encouragement for our future can be found in reflecting on our past.
In Morning and Evening, Spurgeon used I Samuel 7:12 as the text for the morning of December 29th. In this passage, Samuel reminded his people about how God had delivered them from danger.
“Till now the Lord has helped us.”
Spurgeon writes that the phrase “till now” is like a hand that points in the direction of the past. Whether we are twenty years old or eighty, we can say “till now the Lord has helped us.” In all that we have been through — though joy or trial or temptation, “till now the Lord has helped us.” Spurgeon compares this understanding to the delight one feels in looking back down a long avenue of trees. Like a green temple with pillars and arching branches of leaves.
“So look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which support your joys. Are there no birds singing in those branches? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received “till now.”
— Charles Spurgeon
Spurgeon goes on to write that this phrase also points forward. When a person writes “till now,” they are not yet at the end and there is still a distance to be traveled. There will be more trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights and more victories.
Even at the end of our life, His help is still with us for there is the waking up in Jesus’ likeness and all the blessings and fullness of the glory of God.
So, be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise your banner, for the same Lord who has helped you till now, will help you through your journey.
Moses warned the parents of Israel (Deuteronomy 6:12) to watch themselves, that they do not forget the Lord who brought them from the land of Egypt. In addition, Moses charged them with making sure their children would not forget. Dads and Moms–You know the stories of God’s providential care. You know the many times and ways He has sustained you and your family. You are the chief historians in your home and your children will gain grateful confidence as you tell them how, “till now the Lord has helped us.”
So, how to do this? Think about working these discussions into your family dinner time conversations. Think back through needs and concerns your family prayed for in the past. How did God answer? Possibly God answered in a way totally unlike how you imagined. How did the outcome work for good in your life and the lives of others?
“The greatest encouragement for our future can be found in reflecting on our past.”