“Joshua summoned the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one per tribe. Joshua told them, “Go in front of the ark of the Lord your God to the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to put a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the Israelite tribes. The stones will be a reminder to you. When your children ask someday, ‘Why are these stones important to you?’ tell them how the water of the Jordan stopped flowing before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan stopped flowing. These stones will be a lasting memorial for the Israelites.” – Joshua 4: 4-7
For many, finding gratitude during this season of fear and uncertainty has been a challenge. We are bombarded by headlines, press conferences, statistical models, and coronavirus projections that don’t often inspire much optimism. Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high – so much so that even the CDC (the US Center for Disease Control) has highlighted stress coping mechanisms and warning signs to look for in both children and adults.
With so much stress and anxiety, how can Jesus followers fight back in seasons of overwhelming fear and uncertainty? By marking moments of gratitude. I’m talking about those big, life-changing moments where God miraculously provided, healed, comforted, called, promised, or answered a long-awaited prayer – the moments in our lives when God undeniably showed up.
Joshua demonstrated this in a very tangible way when leading the people of Israel into the long-awaited promised land after their lack of faith had cost them 40 additional years of wandering in the desert. Talk about a moment worth remembering. This was not only an answer to their prayers, but it was a major step in God ultimately fulfilling His promise to Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21).
So, to commemorate this monumental moment of God’s faithfulness, Joshua instructed a member from each tribe to select one stone from the Jordan River as a “reminder” of the moment when God stopped the Jordan River and led the people of Israel into the promised land. These stones would mark this moment and act as a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness on that day. Joshua continued his instructions, stating that these stones would be used to tell future generations of God’s faithfulness.
Do you have something in your life similar to Joshua’s remembrance stones?
This can be something physical – a photo, a quote, a journal, or perhaps a verse that you’ve framed and placed on your desk –anything that helps you regularly remember and reflect upon those big moments in life when God showed up. My home church has memorial plaques that tell of God’s miracles through the years.
Just like Joshua, these are the moments we want to remember. These are the moments we want to hold onto because it’s during those difficult, uncertain, or fearful days that standing on God’s faithfulness is all the more important as we walk in faith through life’s every high and low.