Joshua erected a monument at The Gilgal, using the twelve stones that they had taken from the Jordan. And then he told the People of Israel, “In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’
23-24 “Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always. – The Message Translation, Joshua 4: 20 – 24.
The church we were a part of when we lived in America has a feature of a bunch of rocks by its front entrance, with the above accompanying description (they use a different translation though). The rocks are a visual reminder of God’s rescuing hand. The rocks are a reminder of God’s stories in our lives. The rocks are there to urge others; to urge us all, to tell our God stories, to share our God stories.
I don’t have a big ole pile of rocks by my front entrance at my home now. Nope. Don’t think the landlords would entirely approve of that. But I do see this here blogeroo of mine as a ‘rock formation’ of sorts; these are things my God has done for me, this is how I know I am loved beyond measure, and I have hope for every situation.
When I was in my teens and twenties I was able to attend a lot of leadership training and conferences and the like, and a common theme or idea that often came through in these sessions, was the fact that your stories needed to be ‘new’ and ‘relevant’. Up to date and from your current life. So yeah. Current and up to date was what I looked for, and somehow along the way it became a little too easy to begrudge or to belittle the stories of my yesterdays.
But lately I’ve been realizing that our stories of our last weeks and our last months, and of our last years and our last decades, are just as valuable as those stories of our today’s. Don’t you think that the temptation is there to often think that those stories from our yesterdays are done and dusted with? Finito. The end. Book closed. But actually……no……I think that God has a sneaky way of bringing our stories from then into our lives of today. And along with that is the fact and the blessing, that thankfully He can bring healing to very hurt places, over a time-frame known only to Him. He’s that omnipotent. And He’s that omnipresent.
In a blog post a while ago I mentioned the fact that there’s a building here in Auckland that I didn’t like to drive past. Or even think about. It brought back sad memories of a time in our lives where we faced great loss and experienced a lot of heartache. But. And this is a big God but. Just yesterday I was with some people and they were describing a part of Auckland and I realised it was exactly the area in which my aforementioned dreaded building is. And you know what? My heartbeat didn’t change tempo at all. My mind didn’t race to flashbacks. And I can honestly say that it was well with my soul. Only now, twelve years on from my experience in that building, with much more of life experienced, I now can know that God’s gentle gluing of my heart back together is complete – with regards to that experience of grief. That particular story of mine didn’t end when we threw out the dead flowers all those years ago, and it didn’t end when I put words to feelings and began to write of that journey, and it won’t end now that I know I don’t have to deal with fearful memories any more. But it is a continually evolving and living story of God’s presence throughout pain and of His faithfulness.
You see that particular story of mine matters.
And the many other stories of mine, matter. Just like your story matters.
Who you are matters. Where you’ve come from. What has shaped you. The choices you’ve made. The things that make you smile from ear to ear and belly laugh deep down. The things that make you tear up and whether you put on a brave face, or allow those tears to escape, those things matter. Because the God I know and serve is a God who is faithful. He’s powerful. He’s not finished with you yet, and He is certainly not finished with me yet. Your stories matter. Our stories matter.
I’ve suspect I’ve got more stories to tell from my yesterdays and my today’s. And I’ll continue to do my best to shine a spotlight on Jesus.
Joshua built a monument of rocks from the Jordan River to remind the Israelites of God’s faithfulness, of God’s rescuing hand being strong. You see there’s nothing about me that makes me any more special than you – you’ve got stories to share too. What story can you share and to whom, as a living monument of God’s faithfulness? We get to do that. We really do.