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When we’re in the trenches of spiritual warfare, it’s so easy to focus on the bad instead of the good.  After all, crises have a way of taking over our life – our thoughts, our actions, our words.  And it often takes more effort to redirect our thoughts to pleasantries than it does to cycle through our thoughts of fear.

God knew that.

Because He knew, after He cut off the Jordan [River] waters flowing downstream (Joshua 3:13) so all of Israel could pass through on dry ground (Joshua 3:17), He told Joshua to appoint 12 Israelites to pick up a stone and carry it with them to later place at their final destination, a camp in Gilgal.

God didn’t want the Israelites to ever forget that He saved them and helped them conquer their enemies in the Promised Land.  Instead, He wanted to forever remind them, their children, and their children’s children, that each time He WILL come and He WILL rescue. 

How do they know?  Because He did it before.  The stones are proof.

God wanted those stones to serve as a visual memorial for future generations to know just how sovereign He was and always will be. 

The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.  He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.

Joshua 4:23-24

God doesn’t want us to forget either – about what He’s done with the Jordan River, or the Red Sea, or moving our own mountains up until today.

He knows that when our crises end and we laugh more than we cry and we smile more than we frown, we have a way of purging and replacing the bad memories with the present-day, good ones.

But He doesn’t want us to. 

Because if we forget, then when we face our next struggle…

                …we panic;

                …we question;

                …we doubt;

                …we worry.

Are you guilty?

  • Have you purged the stressful home buying experience and the highs and lows – from offer, to inspection, to appraisal, to closing – from your mind all these years later now that you’re in the house you love? 
  • Did you forget about that one time you lost your job and the financial uncertainty and lack of health insurance caused you straight up distress because today you’re not jobless?
  • Did you forget about that health scare or full blown diagnosis you or your love one overcame because today’s diagnosis is “clean bill of health”?
  • Did you forget the time when you were single and alone – juggling feelings of sadness and worry – because you’re now in love?

I won’t suggest that we should forever, or repeatedly, rehash those nitty gritty feelings of despair from our past.  In fact, I won’t even suggest that it’s the feelings of desperation that we should be rehashing at all. 

Rather, it’s simply cycling through those previous hardships every so often to remind yourself that everything wrong was eventually made right.  Even if it took longer than you expected, and even if the path took a different route than you planned, or resulted in a different outcome than you had in mind.

So today, find your stones and display them proudly – either figuratively or literally.  Maybe it’s a private list in your journal or a more visual ‘answered prayers’ list hanging in your prayer room.  No matter your method, walk your mind through all the times in which God was good.  Remember your struggle.  Remember your fears.  And remember how and when God answered when you never saw a way. 

Let the memory of the past struggles affirm that this time will be no different.  He knows just what you need to get you over the hump.  In lieu of fear, use this time productively to draw nearer to Him and say, “thank you” because he WILL answer your prayers this time, too.  Just know it will be on His timeline and according to His will. 

So sit back, and instead of worrying, build a wall with your stones so the enemy can’t penetrate your mind!