My dad’s stories from his childhood were
fascinating and I loved to listen to him tell of his experiences growing up in a small farming community. Listening to anyone relate stories of growing up in a different time period gives great perspective to their lives and how they live now based on those growing up years.
Just as those events make a difference in perspective or beliefs, the telling also impacts those who come later. Shared experiences can also assist in decisions we make for our future. That’s what God asked the children of Israel to do when they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land.
The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. It was now time to enter the land they were to inhabit. God knew that often we forget how He has provided for us as we move on in our lives. To keep a reminder ever before them, He told Joshua to have one member of each of the twelve tribes select a stone out of the river and create a memorial. This memorial was to be a lasting reminder to God’s provision for them and when their children asked about the memorial, it created the opportunity to tell the next generation of God’s faithfulness in the midst of difficulties.
We see the event play out in Joshua, Chapter 4. The summary of the why is listed in verses 6 & 7, “that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
We, too, should collect memorial stones as reminders of God’s faithfulness. We may not create a physical memorial with stones, but we collect reminders of how God has provided in times of need. We all have experienced times when we didn’t know how we were going to make it. Perhaps we didn’t know how the bills were going to get paid, how we were going to handle a difficult relationship, a lost job, a rebellious child, an unfaithful spouse, the death of a loved one, or some other trial. Yet, God brought us through. It is important that we document those time. Then when a different challenge presents itself, we can look at that memorial, journal entry, or other reminder, and reflect on God’s faithfulness to carry us through the deep waters.
I encourage you to list the many times God has come through for you. Read that list often, and especially when walking through difficult times. The reminder of His sustaining power will encourage and strengthen you. Those reminders can also be a beautiful testimony to share with others who are walking through their own struggles. Start your list (memorial) today and add to it as God provides for you.