The day means more than picnics, family get-togethers, and a day off work. Memorial Day calls us to remember those who paid the ultimate price to secure and maintain our freedoms. The idea of a memorial originated early in the Old Testament. As God moved in people’s lives, they established memorials to remember those special times.
When the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land, they collected twelve stones from the riverbed when they crossed over and built a memorial. The purpose for these stones is found in Joshua 4:6-7, “…When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
Another type of memorial is when the Lord told Moses to take some manna from the Israelites’ time in the wilderness and place it in the ark of the covenant as a memorial of God’s faithfulness to them (Exodus 16:33). It provided a constant reminder of how God provided food for millions of people wandering in the desert for forty years.
In the New Testament we see a type of memorial through communion. In First Corinthians 11:23-26 we read the purpose of remembering what Jesus did for us. “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
The importance of a memorial of any type is remembrance. When facing an obstacle, our thinking becomes clouded, and we tend to forget God’s faithfulness. However, if we have established memorials, it makes it easier to remember all He has saved us from and brought us through.
As God provides for us and walks us through challenges, record His faithfulness. Use something as simple as a notebook to record the date, the circumstance or obstacle faced, scriptures or prayers offered, and the answers God provides.
When a new challenge comes, we can look back on how God has faithfully provided over and over and build our faith that He will do it again. Start your list (memorial) today of what God has already accomplished in your life. The list will be an incredible faith-building memorial that can be shared with future generations.