It seemed like a simple enough question, but I was clueless as to how to answer. I was 22, had grown up in the church, and was at Princeton Seminary preparing for ministry.
It was a question which I had never considered.
Fifty sets of eyes were glued on me, the eyes of my Pastor, church Elders, and strangers. I did not have a Solomon answer. I did not have any scripture to quote. I did not know enough theological jumbo mumbo to dazzle and to confuse the crowd.
I did not have a dramatic conversion story to tell about being saved from playfully hanging out near the precipice of hell. I’d had no near death experiences.
I was certain I would fail the test and these men and women of wisdom would have told me my experience was inadequate and that God could not use me.
I was terrified. By the grace of God an answer came forth.
A year later I was asked the same question, “What is your experience of God’s grace?”
Phrased differently, the question could be asked, “When have you personally experienced the Truth of God’s presence in your life?”
I have had to answer the question time and time again. It’s one I frequently ask myself. I keep the answer fresh in my memory bank. There are times when I need to hear the answer again.
Every Christian has a dry season. The season may last a week, a month, a year, or frightfully a decade. You know God is there, here, everywhere, somewhere, but His presence feels more like an absence today.
When winter settles in we all need reminders that spring will surely come again.
In the Old Testament, God’s people are told to remember and to cherish their experience of God’s grace. Our memory of God’s grace is what sustains us day to day.
In Psalm 77, when David laments his present sense of God’s absence, he prays:
“Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds. (1)
David’s memory sustained him.
The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the birds are singing. It’s a good time to answer the question which will sustain you during your winter.
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The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 77:6, 11-12.