My dear friends Phil and Lisa told me a fun story about their then 11-year old son, Spencer. He came home one day from school. Holding his hands about 12″ apart, he asked, “Hey, do we have any of those “big CD’s” anywhere?”
He was referring to 33 RPM vinyl record albums. Once they figured out what he meant, they had a good laugh.
We can’t blame Spencer for not knowing the name of something he didn’t grow up with. I was thinking the other day about all the things my twin daughters will never know. Rotary dial, party line telephones. 8-Track tapes. Mimeograph worksheets in school. Cars without seat belts. Manual typewriters. Carbon paper. And television stations that signed off their broadcast day at midnight with the National Anthem before the screen went fuzzy white until the next morning.
A couple years ago I was trying to explain how TV worked back in the day. “Girls, when Daddy was your age, to change the channel on the TV we had to get off the couch and turn the dial.”
They looked at me thoughtfully for a second. Emma asked, “Daddy, what’s a dial?”
A dial on a TV. Just one more thing they’ll never know.
I was a teenager when 8-Tracks gave way to cassettes. I couldn’t imagine music becoming any more compact. Then in college the CD came along. Certainly this thin silver disc was the limit of music technology. Yet today a 32 gigabyte I-Pod can hold about 7,000 digital songs on a device that weighs less than 4 ounces. Back in the day you couldn’t fit 7,000 songs in the back of a Buick station wagon.
My Grandma Thompson was born in 1900. Having started life in the horse and buggy days, she marveled at every quantum leap in technology. I remember being with her the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. She stared at the television and shook her head, dumbfounded by how far technology had come in the short 69 years of her life. When she was in her late 80’s I would talk with her about what basic word processing computer programs could do. It was too much for her to comprehend. Chin in hand, listening intently she would say, “It’s beyond my absolutely.”
What seems impossible to us is based on our level of known accomplishment. For my Grandmother who, as a country school teacher and high school principal in the early 1920’s, used a slate and a piece of chalk with her students a dry erase board seemed like a miracle. Yet for my kids who use a computerized smart board everyday in their classroom, it won’t be difficult for them to imagine carrying all their textbooks on an I-Pad.
What seems impossible to us is based on our level of known accomplishment. So it is, I think, in our relationship with God. When we are mindful of all the amazing works He’s done in our past, it’s easier to imagine Him doing even more amazing works in our future.
The trick is in remembering what God has done.
I can’t speak for you, but when it comes to remembering God’s faithfulness my memory can be terribly short. When hardship and difficulties press in I catch myself falling into a “what have You done for me lately?” mentality. As if God has somehow been sporadic in His attention to me.
God’s attention to me, of course, is constant. It’s my memory that’s sporadic.
God understands this. In the Bible He calls us to remember His faithfulness as a way of encouraging our hearts. In the Old Testament, he frequently reminded His people to call to mind His faithfulness to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was God’s way of saying, “I took care of your forefathers. I’ll take care of you.”
Psalm 111:4 tells us, “God has made His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.” In the middle of our current fear, are we remembering God’s past faithfulness? When we do, it’s easier for us to believe He can and will do more and greater things in the future.
Take a minute. Make a list of God’s faithfulness to you. The prayers He has answered. The provision He delivered. The miracles He worked in your life. God has made His wonders to be remembered. When we remember God’s known accomplishments in our lives we realize that for Him, nothing is impossible.
“Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we can ask or imagine…”
– Ephesians 3:20
Todd A. Thompson – toddthompson.net