Yesterday in Sunday School, we talked about when the Israelites crossed the Jordan river to go into the Promised Land (Joshua 3). I loved learning more about the culture and all that God's power over the Jordan would have meant to them. But it's what happened, after they crossed the Jordan, that I want to write about.
In Joshua 4, God instructs them to choose 12 men, one from each tribe, to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan and put them down where they would stay the first night. Verse 7 says they were to be a memorial to the people forever. I've always thought of them as remembering stones and I think the principle is essential to us today.
More than once, the Bible tells us to remember... Remember the wonders of the LORD... remember what He did... Remembering God's faithfulness to us in the past can give us the courage to be obedient Him in the present... Remembering God's works, His sovereignty and power, can encourage us when our world seems like it is spinning out of control... Remembering God's past work in our lives can reassure us and encourage us to persevere, even when God seems distant or silent.
One of my most precious remembering stones is on our oldest son's leg (it's really his remembering stone, but as his mom, I claim it too!). About 2 1/2 years ago, Zack was working his summer landscaping job when he tripped and fell while operating a 1500 pound piece of landscaping equipment. It ran up the lower part of his leg and when he pushed it off, the treads cut down into the lower part of his leg.
I'll spare you the gory details, but I have to tell you one thing that's essential to this story... The treads cut down right between the two arteries that run down the leg. Doctors were amazed that they were untouched. If one had been cut, it might have been tragic, but if both had been cut, as one nurse said, "short of a miracle, it most certainly would have been tragic."
I don't see the scar on his leg that I don't also see the hand of God... Just yesterday (with no idea of what we had talked about in Sunday School) Zack said, "Mom, it's strange, I can feel my heart beat through the scar." Another reminder that I don't have to live in fear... I don't have to constantly worry while waiting for our children to come home... God holds life in the palm of His hand. It doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen, but it does remind me that God is in control of all of our days. Psalm 139:16 tells us that God ordained all of our days, before one of them came to be. All of my worry won't change a moment and God is far more capable of protecting those I love than I'll ever be. And as much as I love them, He loves them far more, so I can trust that too!
Remembering stones come in all shapes and sizes, much like the stones they would have chosen from the middle of the Jordan. They are simply the stories of God's work, His love, His faithfulness, His redemption and restoration in our own lives. They can come from answered prayer, a life experience where God redeemed a story of heartache for good, or other stories of God's provision, protection, etc. But here's one last thing about remembering stones, they can be used to encourage others and to teach others about our Great God! In Joshua 4:6-7, God told them to tell the story to their children.
So, do you have a remembering stone? I would love for you to share your story with us. You never know who might need a word of encouragement today!