And Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever…Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day. – Joshua 4:5-7, 9.
I read this passage and couldn’t help but ask myself certain questions: What are the monuments to God that I have set up in my life? Do they serve as ample reminders of the presence of God in my life? What is my plan to ensure that the story of my walk with God doesn’t die with me? Do I teach? Preach? Write a book? These are somewhat heavy questions to ask one’s self, especially at 6a.m in the morning. On one hand, I have to constantly remind myself that my first obligation in life is to God and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. But, on the other hand, there are other things in my life that require my attention; my relationships, my job, my health, etc. And all these things are important. The dilemma I seem to constantly face is where and how to deploy my most valuable resource i.e. my time. In many instances, it’s God vs. everything else.
In the passage above, the Israelites were asked to erect monuments to God as a reminder to all people of what God had done for them. While sometimes the struggle is God vs. other aspects of my life, this story shows me that there are times when it’s God IN these aspects of my life. The Israelites had been roaming around the desert for 40 years and it was finally time for them to come into the Promised Land. I can only imagine what must have been going through their minds; they were approaching the climax of their lives. And that’s where God shows up for them and then asks them to put up a marker, so that those who come after them will be reminded of the magnitude of this Being we call Jehovah.
What am I trying to say today? Many times, we make our lives out to be God vs. xxx. But there are times when it’s God in xxx. Yes, we might be called to use our time to serve God by volunteering or writing a book. And this could take away from time that could be spent spending time with loved ones or getting on top of tasks that need to be completed. But there are also other times (and I daresay they are quite many), when God meets us in the midst of life and asks us to pause, listen and obey. The aim is often so that we may point others to Him.