During church today we had several people share about specific “markers” or “memorial stones” in their lives. Specifically, times where they have seen God at work in a certain situation, and reflecting upon it. The concept comes from way back in the Old Testament, when the LORD brought the Israelites safely across the Jordan River. You can look up the whole story in Joshua 3-4, but the verses in 4:1-7 highlight the point adequately.
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua,
“Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them,
“Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.
In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (NIV)
I love this story. I love how the stones were placed on the side they crossed into. I love how the seemingly random pile of rocks gave the Israelites an opportunity to say, “Hey, my God brought me here. You see that Jordan River over there? It wasn’t a trickling stream He had us cross; it was a flood-stage-level river that He heaped up away from us, enabling our whole nation to walk across in safety. My God brought me through safely, and these stones are here to remind me that I can trust Him.”
Right now I have a Jordan River I’m trying to cross. I know my God will deliver me safely through it, and I trust Him, but my goodness–sometimes it is hard to see beyond the flood waters that directly oppose me. I do know, one way or another, that one day I will have a pile of stones set up as a marker. Someday soon I shall cross this Jordan River, and I will be able to look back and say, “My God brought me here. He heaped up that big old river and brought me here…and I trust Him.”