The gift of remembering

Yesterday marked the one-week anniversary of my returning from the hospital after the cycling accident. As part of the day, I went through our digital photography collection;  more than a decade of pictures.

Of the thousands of pictures I looked at, one particularly sticks in my mind—a November 2004 photograph of young Noah sitting next to me as my right leg was tightly wrapped in athletic tape and a crutch leaned against the couch. Earlier that day, my body went in two different directions on the ice of Cloudcroft, New Mexico.

At the time, this event seemed like a failure. Not only was I injured in the middle of Thanksgiving week, but the injury prevented me from going on a planned temporary duty assignment to Italy. I was supposed to go and serve as the head historian for military operations in the former Yugoslavia. This assignment was going to be good for me financially, professionally, as well as being a free trip to Europe.

At first, the injury seemed like a failure that inhibited my career. The injury meant months of pain, physical therapy, and dependence on other people.

However, from that injury, our son, Nathan was born. If it wasn’t for the injury, we wouldn’t have Nathan. Our lives would be empty without him.

Psalm 77 begins with the psalmist speaking of trouble, moaning, and fainting. However, the psalm changes direction in verse 11 when the psalmist states “I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old.”

It is at this point in the Psalm, when the writer remembers how God has been with him before, that the Psalm changes from lament to praise. It is the same in our lives, when we remember God’s work in the past, we find hope in the future.

Perhaps, one day, I will look back upon this bike accident and say, if this accident didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have received that blessing.

To be honest, I am not there yet.

Like the psalmist, I begin many days with thoughts of trouble and pain. But I also believe that the God who makes broken things whole can bring something beautiful out of this.

I anticipate the day when I will look back on this injury and these troubles and find the blessing buried within. Until that day comes, I too will remember how God has strengthened me in the past and turn my laments into praise.



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