I have an excellent memory. Well, I should amend that. I used to have an excellent memory before I had children. Now, I have the long-term memory of an elephant and the short-term memory of a distracted squirrel. Motherhood will do that to the best of us. Interestingly, memories don’t remain static; they become incorporated into our life story. Our strongest memories are usually not of the mundane moments of life. Instead, they’re of the important, emotion-soaked memories.
It’s the important moments in life that we try to remember: weddings, babies, first days of school, first dates, and anniversaries. We celebrate with ceremonies, photo albums, favorite songs, and parties. Marriages are celebrated with anniversaries, year after year. A marriage would be in real trouble during stressful stages if the couple could not remember the good memories they had built together.
The same is true in our faith journeys. Walking with the Lord takes us through valleys and mountains, and we build memories along the way. Being able to remember moments of the Lord’s faithfulness during spiritual drought is a lifeline for maintaining faith.
An incredible illustration of this is found in Joshua 4. The children of Israel, ex-slaves and desert-wanderers of forty years, are poised to finally take the Promised Land. Just before they move into the territory of Jericho, the Lord leads them through the Jordan River: not by boat, but through the dry river bed. The Lord commands the Jordan River, which was flowing at flood stage, to stop and amass into a heap upstream. The Israelites walk unscathed across the river bed to the other side. While they are passing through, Joshua commands one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the dry river bed. After they have left the Jordan River behind, and have reached the eastern border of Jericho, Joshua tells them to set up the stones on the ground as a memorial.
He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ Joshua 4:21-22 NIV
Now this body of people had been raised on the stories of crossing the Red Sea. They listened to the tale countless times as they ate manna in the wilderness. The time had finally come for them to take their Promised Land, but first the Lord replicates His miracle for them: taking them out of the land of slavery (through the water) and into the promised land (again through the water.) There were no selfies or Instagram feeds in B.C.E. to help document the event. They had two primary ways to pass this story on to future generations – word of mouth and a memorial made with stones.
Just like the Israelites, when I am in crisis, it’s difficult to remember the faithfulness of the Lord. I need to be reminded. Remembering the ways that the Lord has loved me and led me through trials is a key reminder that He will never leave me or forsake me. Suffice it to say that when believers are struggling, the last thing the enemy wants us to remember is how the Lord has been faithful.
Taking time to remind our souls of how God has cared for us, answered prayers, and loved us in the past is an incredible weapon against discouragement in the present.
Pause: Be still and meditate, or take a walk and enjoy nature while you consider the times in your life that the Lord has been faithful to you and your family. Thank and praise Him for what He has done.
Renew: Read Psalm 77, reflecting on David’s call for help and his change of tone as he recites how God has been faithful to Israel. What stands out to you in this passage?
Next: Consider journaling important life events and key moments in your faith journey. If you do not normally share these stories with your friends and family, consider telling them at meals and gatherings. After all, our faith stories create a legacy for our children and can encourage and challenge others.
May you be encouraged as you remember the Lord’s goodness to you.
Pause, Renew, Next!