Regarding memories (the painful ones) I’m continuing to ask “why?” Why think about, talk about, or even pray about, past events which just seem to stir up more pain and grief? Simple answer: if the pain remains fresh, then there’s more to be healed.
This morning I woke up with a phrase of scripture running through my mind: “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts.” I broke out my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, expecting to find these words written in Paul’s epistles or maybe in the Psalms.
Instead, they are recorded in Zechariah 4:6 as God’s word of encouragement to Zerubbabel and to the nation of Israel. Israel had spent many years in captivity due to their breaking God’s laws. Now, God had allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their city and God’s temple. (The full story is recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah.)
We can easily imagine the obstacles faced during this rebuilding. Their enemies taunted them and carried out legal campaigns to try to stop them. Some of the people were still needing to face wrong lifestyle choices they had embraced during their captivity. Choices that would prevent God’s full blessing if they did not repent.
And each stone laid into each wall had the potential to spark a memory of what had been lost due to their failures and the failures of their fore-fathers. As Zerubbabel and the people rebuilt physical walls, they also needed to face and destroy the spiritual strongholds of their fathers. (See Nehemiah 9:2). They mourned and grieved as they confessed their sins, and the sins of the previous generations. Not pleasant memories, but memories that needed to be faced and dealt with, in order to live in true freedom.
Their task was daunting. They had a lot to face. So God reassured them that the work He’d called them too would be completed: “not by (your) might, nor by (your) power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts”. God’s promise continued, “Who are you, O great mountain (of obstacles)?… you shall become a plain.” (Vs 7).
God would transform their many obstacles, their mountains of impossibility, into flat lands of opportunity.
Prayerfully examining memories and being honest with God, others, and ourselves helps us reach a deeper understanding about the spiritual strongholds that have held us in spiritual captivity. We see how spiritual walls of protection were destroyed due to wrong choices of our own and of our fathers. As spiritual roots are revealed and repented of, we experience new strength to stand against the enemy’s taunts, threats and temptations.
God transforms our mountainous terrain of anger, fear, and anxiety into the land of abundant living that He has designed.
And He uses His promises to correct, comfort, and to provide us with sure footing. That’s what He did for me this morning as He repeated the words that He’d spoken so long ago to Zerubbabel: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.”
Are you seeing your painful memories as opportunities to experience deeper healing and life?