Just yesterday in the studio, I had a student who is struggling with practicing. Now this happens often because, frankly, none of us like to work. At the very core of the struggle is the fact that nothing worth having comes easily, and so it is work. This can occur many times in a musician's life. We often think of it at the beginning when we are first getting started and everything seems difficult, but really the “plateau” season is often harder. This is generally 2 to 3 years in to having regular lessons and generally hardest for those who excel quickly and get to harder material before they realize this is really going to be work! Yesterday was just one of those days. So a reminder was in order. Remember. Remember what it was like when you first started. Look back and review and play old pieces again just for fun and remember what it was like when you thought those were hard. We laughed about how simple those pieces seemed now. We acknowledged that we could look back a year from now and say the same things about the pieces she has now.
This morning in my quiet time I read a verse in Psalms that provoked my thoughts along these lines again - I was in Psalm 78 and I hit verse 42 “They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe”. Did you see that - REMEMBER. It was as if God had it on a flashing billboard in front of my face - don't miss this Vicki! The KJV says “They remembered not his hand”. This time remember was in a spiritual context - we need to remember what God has done for us in the past - his power and his hand to deliver us and meet our every need. The Old Testament is full of times where God did an amazing thing, a miracle, and the people stopped to create an altar, or a landmark. They gave it a special name to commemorate or remember what God had done for them. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Moses and others all stopped after an amazing move of God and created the landmark for remembrance. Perhaps my favorite because it is referenced in the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is from I Samuel 7:12. Samuel prayed to God for protection from the Philistines. After their victory, Samuel took a stone and called it Ebenezer - “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” The history of God’s provision was taught to the next generation by those careful to remember.
My meditation this morning continued as I “remembered” the verse that speaks of the “ancient landmark” in Proverbs 22:28. The idea is the same - don’t forget what God has done. Don’t move or destroy the landmark/altar that commemorates that memory.
Why the focus on remembering? Because if we don’t look back and see where we have come from we might forget that we are making progress on the journey. If we don't remember, we might believe falsely that we are alone in the journey. If we don't remember, we might forget all the ways God has provided for us in the past, and we might miss the opportunity to rely on Him with our futures. It is in the remembering that we can move forward from the present. It is in the remembering that we can be confident with our next step. What is that you need to be remembering today? What “Ebenezer” should you be careful to recount for the next generation?