It’s a new year! Are expecting or experiencing new beginnings? Changes in ministry? A new job? Additions to your family? The mile marker of a new year is a good time to remember that God is with us in our transitions. New beginnings are the best time to reflect on where we’ve come from and move into the future with a joyful hope.
And on that note, as you move into your new beginnings, one great reminder is to look forward by looking back. Consider the experience if the Israelites in Joshua chapter 4.
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.” So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:1-7 NIV)
Why do we need memorials? Because we so often forget. We forget the mighty hand of God and His intimate presence in our lives. We forget the answers to prayer and the moments of meditation. We forget the miracles. So New Year’s resolutions are great, and maybe even a few transitions. But one thing that does not change is God, and so while we may be contemplating a few adjustments, we can be sure that the constant will be God’s presence and direction in our life.
Make it a point this new year to put down a few stones along the way. And a year from now we can look back, reflect on what the stones mean, and say, “These stones are to be a memorial to me, so I remember, forever.”