Worship, Memory, and Doubt

I spent all of last week at a wonderful place — Falls Creek youth camp in Davis, Oklahoma. The worship was led by Met Collective, whose leader is Matt Roberson. Something he told the students throughout the week was this: “He who remembers well, worships well.”

Going along with this, on the final night of camp, after our students had shared testimonies of being saved and challenged to share their faith, we briefly discussed the narrative in Joshua 3-4 of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River and entering the Promised Land. Joshua chose 12 men, one from each of the 12 tribes, to grab a stone from the middle of the river. When they had all crossed, they set up an altar with those stones, so that they could always remember what God had done for them that day. When they remembered what God had done, it would cause them to worship.

Another example of memory leading to worship is the Israelites’ annual celebration of the Passover. The eating of unleavened bread and the other stipulations of this festival were symbolic reminders of God’s power and grace in delivering His people from bondage in Egypt. God instituted the Passover so that His people would remember His works, which would cause them to worship.

Today, Christian churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, and the idea is the same. The bread and the fruit of the vine are symbolic reminders of Christ’s atoning death, and when we think of these things, how could we not respond in worship?

All of the above examples are corporate ones, but what about in your own personal life? What great things has God done for you, and have they caused you to worship Him? Has He saved and forgiven you? Worship Him for that! Has He sustained you through a tough time? Praise Him for that!

There has been a recent discussion regarding the sinfulness of doubt. I am not going to weigh in on that here, but I will say this: one of the greatest weapons for fending off doubt is memory. When you doubt the existence of God, consider the many supernatural experiences you have had with Him. When you doubt your salvation, consider the moment He saved you and the joy you surely had. When you doubt the reliability of the Scriptures, consider how miraculous it is that the sixty-six books of the Bible have been preserved and protected for so long.

Whatever it is you may doubt, allow your doubt to spur your memory, and let your memory lead to worship, for he who remembers well, worships well.

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Published by Travis Flanagan

I am a believer, husband, and father who loves serving the Lord and the local church. I am currently an associate pastor of youth/discipleship and a pastoral research assistant for two pastors. Educationally, I have a BA and an MA in Biblical and Theological Studies from Criswell College. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. My research interests include the early church and Greco-Roman voluntary associations (and especially the relationship between the two!).

8 thoughts on “Worship, Memory, and Doubt

  1. Thanks for this, Travis. I think it makes perfect sense, at least in the Christian context.

    But what about the claim that God’s “supernatural interventions”, as understood by us Christians, are really just chance occurrences? Isn’t that also a part of the doubt that a thinking Christian might have? And if it is, how does he/she respond to that question?


  2. I think it is important to make your own “memorial” like Joshua’s people did. The easiest way to do this is to simply keep a journal of experiences you wish to remember. Sometimes I have done more elaborate things, like writing songs, drawing a picture, or making a blog post to help me remember an important miracle in my life.

    Ikenna, a miracle (like beauty) is in the eye of the beholder. Two people can look at the same event and have very different perceptions of it. One person sees the hand of God, and the other sees a coincidence, or maybe doesn’t perceive anything notable at all.

    Belief is a choice that you make. No one can make you believe, and even unimpeachable miracles are not enough to make someone believe, if they have chosen not to (see Acts 4:15-17 for an example). Memorializing our miracles is a way of choosing to believe, choosing to feed your faith instead of feeding your doubts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Along with these excellent subjective helps for our faith are the objective helps given in I John written “that we may know that we have eternal life (cf. I John 5:13)


  4. My son has a rare genetic condition. Among other things, it meant that he was very small when he was very small. We took pictures of things that were examples of how small he was. We took pictures of him in bowls and dated them. We took pictures of him using a curb to stand when he was learning to walk, showing that it came up to his chest. Sometimes, I see children in similar places or doing things next to similar things as Carson at the same age or developmental level, and I end up asking (sometimes aloud) “How little was he?” I’ll watch him step over curbs whole watching videos on his pad as though the curb isn’t even there, and I ask, “How little was he?”
    This always causes me to think of Joshua and the generations that followed, pointing to the alters in the middle of the river and saying (sometimes aloud) “How awesome is God?”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I would almost say that the “average” Christian has never really experienced anything supernatural or miraculous, provided the definition of a miracle is that something is completely contrary to the laws of nature. The parting of the Red Sea and the Virgin Birth were miracles, for example. However, we can indeed remember the blessings that have been given to us by God.


  6. There are many things that I give God all the glory and honor and praise! He’s guided me through a season of transition and taught me how to trust and depend on Him. He’s the same today, yesterday, and forever more! Thank you for sharing!


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