Remembering is a central theme in Scripture. When Moses addressed the people of Israel before they entered the land of Canaan, he told them to remember that God brought them out of slavery in Egypt, led them in the wilderness and was now giving them the land he promised to their ancestors. He told them to remember their story and obey God’s loving commands: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds … Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19). When we remember who God is and what he has done in our lives, it helps us trust him, enlarges our faith and encourages others.
The Power of God
by Major Brandi LeDrew
For me, the phrase “God’s got this” has been a constant refrain over the past six years. No matter if it’s a huge mountain or a small molehill that I’m facing, I always remember that God’s got it.
In August 2021, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. It was an unexpected diagnosis discovered during a routine test. I hadn’t noticed the small symptoms I was having because they could have been brought on by anything. I recall that initial conversation with my doctor, who confirmed the suspicions of the radiologists were correct. I remember looking at her, trying to process it all quickly in my mind, with an expression of pure peace. I told her that I would do whatever treatment was necessary, but that I knew God was in the midst of the whole situation.
It wasn’t just a fleeting thought—I continued to believe it every step of the way. That week was an emotional one as I told my family about the diagnosis. Was I uneasy? Yes. But I was certain that God would calm that uneasiness in his time. That Sunday, just six short days after the diagnosis, I stood in the pulpit at our corps and shared my news with the corps family. They were shocked, but I assured them that God was present and that “He’s got this.” I told them that God is faithful, and I intended to prove just how powerful he is; that when he is with you, you can be at peace no matter what.
I underwent five rounds of radiation followed by surgery to remove the cancer. There were some complications that required a much bigger surgery than originally intended. It’s a long, bumpy road to recovery and I’m not quite there yet, but God has been so faithful. I am now considered cancer-free and need no further treatment. My family, friends and corps have seen the power of God, who can bring you through the storms when we remember him.
Major Brandi LeDrew is the corps officer in Bay Roberts, N.L.
by Nathan Keys
October 26, 2021—the day my son was born. The day God showed faithfulness to me. On the way to the hospital, my wife had intense contractions, the kind that made her stand straight up while being restrained by the seat belt.
When we arrived, pandemic restrictions meant I couldn’t come in with her right away, so I dropped her off and parked the car. How could I forget throwing up in the parking lot due to the knots in my stomach? I paced anxiously back and forth, waiting for the call to come inside. Finally, it came—come now and come quickly.
I rushed in with the bags to the front desk and was directed to the third floor, where a nurse asked me to fill out paperwork. Then the double doors behind me opened and another nurse asked if I was Kathleen’s husband. She said to follow her immediately to get prepped because my wife was in the OR. At first, I didn’t realize she meant the operating room. Then I heard a loud scream that sounded like my wife. Although the nurse assured me it wasn’t, anxiety was building up as I had no idea what was going on. I got my gown on and then waited for further instructions. By this point, I was shaking, crying and lost for words.
When the nurse returned, she explained that the baby was in distress and my wife needed an emergency C-section. My heart was pounding as I gazed at my wife through the window of the OR. Then I was told they weren’t ready. Crushed that I could not be with her, I sat in the waiting area, crying out to God, Father, please let my son be OK, over and over. Although it all happened in a matter of minutes, each moment felt like eternity as I waited.
Finally, I was able to join Kathleen. God answered my prayer. Our baby boy, Joshua Ray Bertie Keys, entered this world. God is faithful and hears the prayers of his children.
Nathan Keys attends Southlands Community Church in Winnipeg.
From Generation to Generation
by Major Karen Hoeft
Heritage, legacy, birthright, generations—these words come to my mind as I think about “remembering God.”
We live in an instant world. I was raised with an individualistic worldview. What was happening in the present was more important than what had happened in the past.
The Scriptures tell the story of God’s people—how they lived and the choices they made, their failures and the consequences. It’s also the story of how God rescued and redeemed them, and how they experienced his faithfulness from generation to generation. It’s a story they told and retold so they would remember it.
When I lived in northern Canada, I was challenged by people who had long stories. Their history stretched through the centuries. They were people who still walked in their ancestors’ paths. I started to realize I didn’t know my own history beyond a generation and so I began the journey to discover my story. This journey has been powerful and life-giving. It has changed my life.
The story of the people of the North— the Inuit and the Dene—have challenged my worldview and deepened my spiritual journey. It has given me the desire to remember my heritage and share it with my children and my grandchildren, so that we can share our common story with the generations yet to come.
My parents were pivotal in my spiritual journey. The choices they made changed the course of my life. The choices of my ancestors to leave their countries of birth and resettle in the land we call Canada changed their family’s story, but also changed the lives of those who had lived here before they came. My choices change the lives of those around me.
Remembering doesn’t glorify the past, nor does it wash away the wrongs done. It does help me to understand, to listen, to walk humbly and to love deeply.
Today, I choose to honour my heritage. I choose to love the One who has given me my breath and my story. I will seek to pass on a story of love, repentance and generosity to the next generation.
Major Karen Hoeft is the executive director of Waterston Ministries in Regina.
Surprised by Joy
by Captain Michelle Cale
I miss my dad. I want to talk with him about nothing and everything that really matters.
Dad’s still here, but he has dementia now. I catch my breath whenever we hit a marker on this journey—the increased struggle to swallow, the need to crush pills. Oh, we’re here now. “Long grief,” some call it.
I want to shout, “Dad’s still here, he’s still my dad!” That others might fully know this person whom I love.
But God’s been opening my eyes more fully to the gift of others. Like my favourite grocery store cashier, who supported us when Dad, in his confusion, became upset and loud. She stepped into our story, perhaps unaware of the gift she offered me—relief. Somehow, she knew. What relief to not have to explain, “It’s not Dad, it’s dementia.”
I want to remember these moments, my clear evidence that God holds all the details. While parts of this journey are pain-filled, God is here as we live within grief. And so often, it’s in the gift of others who help along the way.
Did I mention my favourite cashier had never met my dad before?
As we reflect on Easter, I think of how Joseph of Arimathea gave of himself with the gift of burial space (see Luke 23:50-56). How valuable this gift for those who had loved Jesus, those who were worn, raw, perhaps embittered. Surely, after such a death, they could be left in peace to care for the One they’d so loved.
Joseph stepped in, asking Pilate for Jesus’ body, with no guarantee he would say yes. But as Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb, the women who had followed him must have recognized this gift. What relief to be given space and dignity to mourn.
And then that space became the place where their grief was transformed, where they understood, fully, that God is in control. A place of joy, as they realized that Jesus is alive. God truly holds all the details. And they were given new purpose, to tell everyone the good news.
Where are you experiencing the gift of others? What is God calling you to remember?
Captain Michelle Cale is the corps officer in North Vancouver.
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