4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. 5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”
Often I find myself praying platitudes, asking for help, for guidance, for change, but lacking belief in God’s ability to fulfill them, doubting His sovereignty. Deeming problems too big and requests too radical, accommodates a tunneled view of God, usually a result of my own scurried efforts to manipulate what feels like a life size game of Janga, heaving and struggling with one piece, only to inch it nano meters in the wrong direction, watch everything collapse, and then throwing my hands up say, “Well God, if I can’t do it, I’m not sure what you could do.”
Which is probably followed by a hearty chuckle from the other end.Forgetting what God has already done is easy. We forget because we fail to recognize it was God’s hand at work in the first place. We forget because we’re human, and even the spry youths who pull all nighters and somehow manage to keep their sanity, still forget life changing moments. (I’d like to point out that the former isn’t applicable to yours truly, but the latter is VERY applicable. Just call me grandma.) We forget because we don’t want to remember. Maybe God’s hand at work was a wake up call, an exercise in humility on our part, that didn’t initiate fuzzy blanket vibes but sweaty disequilibrium.I think God calls us to build memorials for those very reasons. He wants us to remember that He does answer prayer, in order for our faith to root deeper, and he wants us to remember what the answer looked like. When the answer initially appears foreign, like maybe God confused our request with someone else’s, in retrospect, we can recognize those foreign answers filled an gaping hole, so obvious we acclimated to the void.
The memorials remind us of our Father’s complete understanding of exactly what we need and when we need it. They remind of us of His power, complete ability to work in every situation. And they remind of His ready willingness to provide.
45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
How do we build memorials?
Making piles of rocks in your back yard will probably concern your neighbors and kill grass, so taking a page from Joshua might not be the best idea. Instead, we can…
Write it down.
Looking back on ways God has answered prayer in the past and journeling about the specific outcomes cements it. When we forget, we can go back to the page and be comforted in remembering past answers.
When we pray for needs, we can thank God for how He has provided in the past, our gratitude a buoy for faith, especially helpful when our requests seem forgotten.
“He has answered, and He will answer again.”
Share it with others.
The passage in Joshua mentions future children and their inquiry about the stones. Joshua says that they should answer with an explanation of how God specifically provided for them. Sharing experiences of answered prayer can be an encouragement for those waiting for answers or needing reassurance of God’s understanding, power, and willingness to provide.
Joining Sunday Thoughts with Jamie from The Mom Gene.