Stones of Remembrance

Each morning when I open up my Facebook©, I am reminded of my social media “memories” from that particular day dating back several years.  While it is not completely unlike looking through an old, family photo album, it is!

When you open an old, family photo album, you are often reminded of sweet memories…sometimes bitter/sweet…but usually sweet.    Therein you may find pictures of your grandparents at a family reunion or old school pictures that make you cringe (in a good way) because your Momma cut all your hair off.  Maybe you will find one of those awkward photos of you and your siblings, posing unknowingly for the laughs the photo would generate 45 years later.

rene paul tammi angelaGod created within our brain extra folds of brain-matter that would not only store precious memories for us, but that would also filter out the painful memories that remind us of hurt, struggle, hardship, grief, and loss.  We are not equipped to carry such burdens every day for the rest of our lives…they are only meant to be sifted out after healing (and many times repentance).

The Jewish people have a custom that when a loved one passes away, instead of flowers, they place a stone on the headstone as reminder that God is mighty and that they would, for generations, fear (in the Hebrew this word “fear” means reverence) Him.  In the account of the Hebrew children crossing the Jordon in Joshua 4, we find how this came into being:

Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.'” So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day. For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the LORD had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. And the people hurried and crossed; and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the LORD and the priests crossed before the people. The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over in battle array before the sons of Israel, just as Moses had spoken to them; about 40,000 equipped for war, crossed for battle before the LORD to the desert plains of Jericho. On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life. Now the LORD said to Joshua, “Command the priests who carry the ark of the testimony that they come up from the Jordan.” So Joshua commanded the priests, saying, “Come up from the Jordan.” It came about when the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD had come up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up to the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks as before. Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” (Joshua 4:1-24 NASB)

What is impressed upon me from this account is that God wanted them to remember something good…His provision.  He didn’t ask them to gather these stones so that they could remember their doubt and disobedience while wondering 40 years in the desert…No!  He wants them to remember that He is still with them — He loves them and that He is mighty!

The problem with some of the Facebook© memories that I have found are the ones where I said something that I should have kept to myself…poorly chosen posts to either complain, seek pity, or show unkindness toward someone.  Often, words written in anger or hurt.  When these “show up” for me to revisit, I am once again face-to-face with the same sin I have confessed and God has forgiven.  I am face-to-face with my shame and the depths of sin my heart has at times plunged.  Satan is using Facebook© as a tool to keep me defeated.  He doesn’t want me to remember that God has forgiven me!  As long as he can keep me feeling shame, hurt, bitterness, and angst toward myself or someone else, he can keep me from being an active and useful part of the Body of Christ.

Satan does not want us to walk in the fullness of who we are in Christ Jesus!  Ephesians outlines who we are for us:

  • We have redemption through His blood; ( Ephesians 1:7)
  • We have obtained an inheritance;  (Ephesians 1:11)
  • Were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise;  (Ephesians 1:13)
  • He raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and,  (Ephesians 2:6)
  • You who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

What a beautiful picture God has given us, through His Word and the richness of His mercy and grace, of who we are in Christ Jesus!  I am so thankful this picture is now in my photo album to replace years of sin, shame, hurt, heartache, and even grief…a stone of remembrance to His might, redemption, and faithfulness in my life!