“We can’t!” the man screamed to his friend in panic. Every inch of his body started to tremble as he stared into the deep waters of the river. He could not fathom how this was going to work itself out. How in the world were they going to just walk directly through these waters? As much as his friend wished he could reassure him, fear gripped him to the core. But then there was Joshua, their leader; a man they knew they could trust. He said God had commanded them to cross the Jordan River, and that He promised He would give them every place where they set their feet. So here they were, clinging to that promise and hoping he was right. They watched the priests step out first towards the deep waters, tightly gripping the Ark of the Covenant. In pure amazement, they watched as the water’s flow was cut off, and water heaped up tall like a mountain. They could not believe what their eyes were witnessing! The priests seamlessly glided on solid ground. Before they knew it, it was now their turn to test out what their minds couldn’t understand. Sure enough, their timid feet stepped on dry land filled with the power of their mighty God. In awe, the wide-eyed men shouted praises of thanksgiving to God as they danced across the river’s width. God had fully delivered His promise and their hearts were forever changed.
God had a specific plan in mind to commemorate His handiwork. He wanted one person from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to take a stone with them as they crossed. Twelve stones were to serve as a reminder of what God had graced them to see with their own eyes and to share this gift with the generations that followed. So when life continued for the Israelites and time went on, they could look to those precious stones. The stones that would relive that water’s divide; the memory of water towering high as they stepped across on dry land. When they felt doubt or fear creeping in, they could remember what the powerful hands of God had accomplished before their very eyes. And when the next generation came to be, they could share how God had miraculously moved on that day. Can you imagine the testament of those 12 stones; the weight that they carried to generation after generation?
Oh, how these stones resonated with me as I read through this story in Joshua 3 and 4. You see, recently I have been struggling with forgetting what God has done in my life. Whenever I let what is seen camouflage what is unseen, doubt and fear start to inch their way in, and I find it can be a fight to hold onto what is unseen. By not taking time to remember, I let myself forget how He has moved in my life, how He has shaped my heart, how I am who I am, all because of Him.
Like God had a very intentional plan in asking the Israelites to take a stone to remember, He asks us to do the same:
- Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:9
- Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. 1 Chronicles 16: 12
- They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. Psalm 78:35
Reading through these, along with the story in Joshua, it feels as if God is dumping cold water over my negligent memory. Remembering what He has done is one of the easiest ways to combat my fear and doubt. The renewing of trust and faith in God gave me the desire to hear and share more. I wanted to use Showers of Grace as a platform to do this, so I will be starting a series of posts called The Weight of Twelve Stones. Over the next year, along with my own ramblings, I will be posting 12 stories of God’s faithfulness and power. My purpose for each post is to create churning within our hearts, an altar of remembrance for what God has done, and a response of gratitude to God no matter where each of us are in our lives. My hope is that you will see that my faith is in a God that moves. He’s not this stagnant thing that remains within my mind, or four walls of a church. He is shocking. He is involved in the details. He is miraculous. And just as the Israelites experienced, I’ve witnessed this with my very own eyes. In these experiences, He has clearly declared to me, “I am the God, and you can confidently place your faith in Me!” I’ve shared His evident hand in my life throughout my posts. One of my favorites is here. Another amazing experience was my birth story with my first child. His fingerprints were all over it and I am excited to share it with you on my next post.