Day 3: Memorial

Paper Tigers & Impressing God

A Write 31 Days Series

Yesterday I wrote about learning to water ski, as a kid, to impress my dad.  That memory popped into my head recently at the strangest moment.  I was in Washington DC for an overnight stop before flying to Ethiopia with a mission group.  We had 26 suitcases, each 50 pounds, full of supplies and donations.  We had checked them in Dallas, and we had to claim them all and take them to our hotel for the night before checking them again in the morning.  This meant we had to drag all 26 suitcases through the airport, out to the sidewalk, across traffic, and down to where the hotel shuttle would pick us up.

(Photo by Traci Judd)

(Photo by Traci Judd)

As I was dragging 100 pounds and my carry-on through the airport, out the door, and across the street, the aching in my arms jogged the memory of aching arms from water skiing.

I also had a Bible story pop into my head as we crossed the street in front of the airport.  I immediately thought of the Israelites passing over the Jordan River on their way to the promise land.  God had them carry stones, one for each of the twelve tribes, and place them in pile as a memorial.

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.‘ 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. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
— Joshua 4: 1-3, 6b-7 ESV

God wanted the Israelites to remember what God had done for them; He had brought them out of Egypt and into the promise land.

The best way to remember something is having a physical reminder and a muscle memory for that event.

Think of the way Daniel son was trained by Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid, not that this is equivalent to the example out of scripture, but it is a good illustration.

 

Wax on, wax off.

Paint the fence.

Sand the floor.

 

God told them to pick up some rocks, knowing how the guys I know operate, they probably scoured the river bed and bragged who had the biggest rock to contribute to the memorial.

As they carried these big, heavy rocks, they were creating a memory.  And what they were to remember wasn’t what they had done, but what God had done.

After arriving in Ethiopia with all 26 of our heavy suitcases, I sat on my bed and thought all of this through.

I wanted to not remember that I had carried supplies for orphan care to Africa.  I wanted that muscle memory of dragging those bags halfway across the world to remind me of what God had done.

God had not only worked all of the circumstances out for good so that our orphan care trip was possible, but he was bringing my heart into a better place, a place filled with grace and freedom.  He was using my serving Him to teach me that what I could do for Him wasn’t where my security should come from.  What I could do for God shouldn’t be where my value comes from, and it was never going to make me holy in the sight of God.  I could never impress God with my proper behavior or good works.  My worth, value, and righteousness comes only from Him.

That is what He has done.

That is what we must remember.

 

Click to return to series table of contents.

 

I like to include a song with each blog post.  Why not?  Music is the best.