And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD ... So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:5-7)
The Israelites had just witnessed God part the Jordan River, allowing them to cross it on dry ground as they finally entered into their promised land. As great as this was, God knew that His people would soon forget. The memorial stones would serve as a reminder of His wondrous act and a prompt to pass it on to the next generation.
This year on New Year’s Day, our family spent some time around the breakfast table “gathering” some memorial stones of our own. Going into a new year mindful of both the blessings and challenges a year can bring, we knew it would be important to remember the One who had brought us this far. Because like the Israelites, we soon forget. Our phones have savvy reminders so we don’t forget what is ahead, but what do we have in place to help us remember what is behind?
After that morning around the breakfast table, our family had a stack of index cards full of examples where God had given us a path through the waters around us. We recounted answered prayers and were encouraged and strengthened as we took time to feed on His faithfulness. (Psalm 37:3) We keep those cards in a special jar on display in our kitchen. Memorial stones ... because God’s acts are worthy to be remembered, and He intends for His faithfulness to be passed on to our children.