Need encouragement? Look no further than your photo album.

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I’ve been busy working a lot lately.  Like, forgot-where-the-fork-drawer-is, busy.  Our big family has a lot going, on all fronts.  Today was no exception.  It was a bit tough.  I don’t want to get too specific, but lets just say, we went to church in shifts, and not all of us made it.  When we finally settled in for dinner, someone asked to see some photos of the baby’s delivery.  I grabbed the computer and set it on the as of yet uncleared dinner table and brought up the digital treasures.
Suddenly; memories flooded the dining room.  What seems like yesterday, and an eternity ago at the same time, was being recounted by everyone.  The vivid fear, fatigue and joy all pouring into every synapse.  A million prayers that never left my lips, but were heard none the less, were brought back to my heart.  Hyalin membrane disease of the new born, a common condition in premature babies, felt altogether uncommon to us back then.  As we watched our new born baby struggle for every breath, it seemed as if we could not catch our own.
Considering we had lost two pregnancies to miscarriage before she was born, there was plenty of doubt and heartache to go around.  Days and nights spent in the NICU, bad hospital food, lost sleep, stressed kiddos and long commutes from home to hospital made it seem almost overwhelming.
But there was always peace and confidence.  Not because we could know the future, but because we never forget the past.  It’s easy to have peace now, holding a healthy baby in our arms, looking through photos of her frail frame invaded by tubes and wires; but having confidence in chaos is not merely a glass half full endeavor.
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 “Forget not His benefits” David reminds us in Psalm 103.  This is not merely to remind us to be thankful, but to strengthen us in times of trouble.  David knew about this better than most.  1 Samuel 30 tells of an exceptionally difficult time for him.  His enemies seemed to be winning, his family was taken captive and his life was in serious jeopardy.  We read the David strengthened himself in the Lord.  David routinely reminded himself of the faithfulness of God, and moved forward in confidence, knowing that He who began a good work would complete it.
I’m no David, and my family is not being pursued by an invading army; but, we have seen a few tough times.  Sitting around the table tonight we recalled story after story of another daughter who’s life was more than once on the edge.  We recounted her 7 surgeries before she was even school aged.  I was amazed at the beauty and strength of my wife all over again.  She dealt with the most terrifying emergency we have ever encountered as a family, while I was far away, and unable to help.  She persevered and trusted the Lord, when all other hope was lost.
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These memories remind us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.  Whatever you are facing today, move your eyes from your circumstances and put them back on the Lord.  Remember His benefits.  Break out your photo album if you must, but whatever you do, don’t become discouraged, it never accomplished anything.
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