Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from The Lord,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God’?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, YHWH, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.” Isaiah 40
I don’t journal enough, but I do it somewhat regularly, and when I do I write two things at the top of the page. The first is simply the date. The second I write in Greek. It says “manna for today.” It’s my small reminder that YHWH did not let his children store up His heavenly bread gift, that they might come to him in need each morning—so it is with me. My tendency, like all of God’s children before me, is to forget how He sustained me yesterday, and five minutes ago.
The term Soul Amnesia isn’t mine—Ann Voskamp coined it. And while she specifically uses it with regards the Israelite’s forgetfulness of God’s manna provision, it’s splattered all over Scripture and our lives like a Pollock . Peter’s feet tread on turbulent saltwater, his eyes on his Lord doing the same, and all it takes is for the water to get a little more violent to forget Who is right in front of him. I’m grateful for Peter, I feel like him often. Zealous trust in a moment, quickly eradicated by circumstance. Hope in the wild truth—that Jesus puts us on top of the water—evaporates once that water reaches our knees. I walk in the shadow of men as weak as I. And yet, He speaks to us gently: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, YHWH, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not become weary or tired.” He patiently beckons our fragile fickle hearts, and rather than scold our amnesia, He shows us Who He Is.
Though my life has had its share of deep disappointment, when I do what the ancient hymn In Tenderness prescribes—”with all adoring wonder, His blessings I retrace”—I am left dumbfounded by the ways that He both carried me and at times dragged me. Job never got to find out why he experienced his suffering; somehow by God’s grace, I’ve gotten to see time and again what would have befell me had He given me what I thought I needed. And even with that knowledge, of steps directed, doors opened and closed, I so quickly recoil my hand and go back to gritting my teeth, succumbing to fear. The fear that my head knows is driven out by His perfect love, but my heart clings to at the first sign of calamity. Like the chronic pain that has plagued my back for almost three years now, the muscles of my soul cling for dear life to avoid pain, all the while the pain being caused by the clinging. Then come the moments when I remember, and clarity comes—the mysterious made bright as it can be this side of eternity.
Today I had an image in my head of retracing blessings the way that you run your finger over the palm lines of a loved one. It’s a moment often wordless—it transcends them. But it results in a deeper knowing. And we experience that intimacy with our Author. As of now in my life, those moments happen interspersed amongst a lot of chaos and a lot of forgetting. I don’t want that to be the case. I want the retracing to be as natural as breathing. Maybe you’re the same. I don’t have answers on how to get there. But I know I have to start by stopping—by taking my eyes off the violent waters and looking right at at the One they answer to.