A walk down Memory Lane is not all romantic. Road signs along the lane mark defining moments of how life brings changes. Some memories are soothing; others, bring stabs of pain. Not all experiences do we vote into our heart’s ‘hall of fame.’
In one of the most recent mentoring classes, the assignment I gave was for everyone to prepare a timeline of the highlights of their lives. We were to come prepared to share them in class. Unprepared for some of the emotional collisions in my soul, I realized that some of the memory markers had left lasting effects. Even more amazing to me were some of the events that, at the time of occurrence, had seemed insignificant.
A teacher’s seating arrangement in junior high school chorus class placed me beside someone soon to become my friend. How would I have guessed that this assignment had eternal purpose? She invited me to camp with her church youth group that summer. It was at vesper’s by the sea that I gave my 13-year-old heart to the Lord.
Though this was decades ago, I still remember the warm sea breeze blowing through my hair and the freshness of the atmosphere where hearts were so impressionable. Never will I forget the first scripture I ever took to my heart as a memory marker: Micah 6:8. “What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
As I worked on my timeline, one unalterable truth became apparent: God is faithful! He chooses us and then waits for us to choose Him. Having already ordained a plan for us, He patiently waits while we decide whether we will submit to His divine plan or to stubbornly insist upon our lame plan .
His Spirit directs us into life-altering places, permitting us to meet people who bless us, and even hurt us, and waits for us to come to the realization that He works it all together for good. Purpose was hidden down the dusty hallways of my past experiences. Until I took a walk along Memory Lane, I had missed some of the ebbs and flows of His hand.
Mark Batterson writes: “The past is not circumstantial. The past is providential.” Memory markers are divinely placed. We read them to understand God’s intent. Each moment is designed by Him to leave eternal impressions upon us and then upon those we meet: the simple smile to the sales clerk who might have considered suicide … the gift of time spent with someone who thought God had forgotten them. Perhaps we wouldn’t have voted our small gestures into the heart’s hall of fame … but they would.
I will spend eternity being thankful for a junior high school choral seating assignment that led me to the biggest decision of my life!
“We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29