DO YOU KEEP A DIARY?
I don’t mean the sort of diary where you write, ` 10.30 – dentist’ or note down your exam times or holiday dates; in fact, not a diary of what you expect to happen but of what has happened – in short, a `spiritual diary’.
Perhaps you are saying, `What would I put in it?’ Here are just a few suggestions. If you read a promise of Scripture which particularly speaks to you, write it down with the date and a brief note of the circumstances. When you have an answer to prayer, note it down. We are such forgetful creatures! Did the preacher preach a sermon which helped you? Why not note down the text or theme or a striking phrase? From time to time a verse of a hymn (even a familiar hymn) comes to us just at the right time. Retain it by putting it in your diary. Was there an occasion when you failed horribly? If you’re like me, there have been many such occasions. It’s a help to make a brief note, even if you don’t go into detail, and perhaps add a verse of Scripture which brought you to repentance once again.
Recently I’ve been reading through my old diaries which I’ve kept for many years. I’ve found there incidents I’d completely forgotten, in which the Lord brought a particular verse of Scripture to my mind to strengthen or rebuke me or to guide me. I’ve found amazing instances of the Lord’s timing, even down to a day, an hour or even a minute. I’ve found examples of the Lord’s provision for me in many different ways. I’ve found occasions when I was ashamed of myself, but have rejoiced again in the Lord’s forgiveness and in His justifying grace. My rereading has been a source of real strength to me.
One or two hints. We don’t have to put something in every day, though some people may find it helpful to do that. I find in my diaries that I’ve often written nothing for weeks. This is to my shame – surely the Lord has spoken to me through His Word in all that time?
Again, write what you write for yourself alone. Someone else may read your diary one day, but don’t write with that in view. Sometimes as I’ve re-read my diaries I’ve had a laugh to myself and have said, `Well, nobody but me will know what I meant by that!’
A practical point – you can get exercise books at five for about Â£ 1. If you use these and number the books you’ll build up several volumes of diaries over the years. I commend the practice.
M. E. Siddans