A Living Memorial
Monday I wrote about what happened in Joshua chapter 1 when the Israelites were on the edge of their promised land. Today, we are going to address what happened when they actually crossed the Jordan. In Joshua chapter 3, Joshua commands the Levitical priests to lead the people of Israel across the river, as they lift up the Ark of the Covenant. When the priests feet touch the river, the flow of water is cut off and the river stands up like a wall, enabling the people to cross over by the town of Jericho. God has done it again! In a great display of love and affection towards His chosen people, He pulls off a miracle of great proportions, so that the Israelites may step into their promised land. I love what happens in chapter 4. Joshua commands 12 men, who have been selected from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, to pick up a stone from the middle of the Jordan where the Ark of the Covenant is being lifted up. These stones are to be used to build a memorial to all that God has done for His people. Joshua declares, "In the future your children will ask you, 'What do these stones mean? 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" (Josh. 4:6-7).
God has been speaking to me about building memorials in my own life. There have been several times that God has come to my rescue, drawing me out of what seemed to be an impossible situation and placing my feet on solid ground. There is one particular time in my life that seems to stand out more than any other. It was the summer before my junior year of high school. I was under a severe amount of stress. My best friend at the time was hospitalized and admitted into a residential program because of various attempts she had made to commit suicide. I had stuff going on in my family as well and a ton of summer homework I was trying to plow through. The stress became more than I could handle and I snapped. I ended up having a severe nervous breakdown that landed me in the hospital. The circumstances were so severe that I was diagnosed and put on heavy medication. My family was told by the doctors that I wouldn't be able to function normally and would likely have to be on medication for the rest of my life. It was the darkest season of my life.
Throughout this period of time, I had friends and family praying for me and I clung to Jesus firmly. The medication I was on made me depressed and lethargic and zapped all the life out of me and I reached the point where I couldn't take it anymore. After a couple months, we asked the doctors to decrease my dosages with the goal of getting off the meds, but they refused. They said that decreasing my dosages even a little was too risky. So in a move of faith, I took myself off my medication completely. What happened amazes me even to this day. Not only did I return to being myself, but I finished off high school graduating the salutatorian of my class, earning myself a full scholarship to college. God had taken me by the hand and saw to it that I crossed over my Jordan. It's been ten years and I have never gone back to that dark place since.
I have other stories of times God has pulled through for me in incredible ways and I'm sure you have stories and testimonies of your own. Like Joshua and the Israelites, we need to set up memorials and monuments to these moments, so that when we find ourselves in troubled times again can we can build up our faith and put our trust in the Lord. Make it a point to write these moments down and to share them with others.
More than anything, I want to be a living memorial of God's goodness. I want to be a living and breathing monument that declares the promises and goodness of God to the hurting and the broken. In 2 Cor. 3:2, Paul says of the Corinthian church, "Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you." Today what I want you to know is that your life is a letter that declares God's love to those around you. Let others read your story and rejoice in the goodness of God.