Today I spent the morning shopping with one of our daughters. It’s one of her big birthday’s coming up and we are preparing the celebrations. As I sat next to her in the car chatting, she was busy exclaiming how great her new moisturizer smelt on her arms, and I was laughing at her enthusiasm.
In the midst of all this talking I glanced again at her arms; tanned, toned and healthy, and I remembered how those same arms used to look. Little arms that were bandaged most days from wrist to elbow, protecting and hoping to bring healing to the angry weeping sores underneath the bandages, caused from chronic eczema. At the worst times we struggled to find a clear spot on her body, as we went back and forth to specialists and hospital appointments, all the time believing and praying for a breakthrough. I would say “one day people are going to say to you what beautiful skin you have, so just keep praying and seeing yourself like that”.
Today I reached across and touched the skin on her arm, which is like a “living memorial” to what God has done, and I remembered and smiled. Why? Because people do comment on how lovely her skin is, and there is not a sign of eczema on her.
Given man’s propensity to forget, God frequently mentions in the bible asking people to create memorials. The meaning of the Hebrew word used in scripture for memorial is “to remember”.
At the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses built an altar of stones – a memorial to commemorate God’s covenant with Israel (Ex. 12:14). Moses spoke to Israel just before they entered the promised land. He said, “be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy. 6:12) God didn’t want His people to forget Him and all He had done for them.
Joshua also erected a memorial of 12 stones when he finally crossed the Jordan river with the Israelite’s. He instructed the leaders of the tribes to “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 stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight”
The memorial stones were to be a reminder of each person’s individual breakthrough experience as they came into the land God had promised. The stones were there every time they looked or passed that way to cause them to remember to tell their story, and to keep a clear memory of what God had done for them.
Today I remembered as I looked at the living memorial which is my daughter of all God has done in our family. It’s a memorial of faith and trust in the face of suffering and challenge. It’s a memorial of breaking through and victory. God’s constant provision, healing and love for our family are other memorials in my life of His faithfulness and love.
God knows how we think, and that we can easily forget important things. So He asks us to remember. How often do we sit down and think about the memories, the experiences, all the breakthroughs, and thank God?
Those memorial stones in the bible were also to serve as a basis of sharing faith; to remind them to share their God stories with their children. They were to be a signpost to a lost world “that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
When we remember and look back at our “memorials, God also wants us to remember to trigger us to renew our personal commitment to Him, to understand that He is with us as we go into our future, and to take every opportunity to tell others that He is the living God who “parts the waters” and makes a way through.
What are your memorials? Take a moment “to remember” all that God has done. Remember next time when you take a bold step of faith into the unknown, of all the times through the accounts in His word, and the memorials in your own life, how He is faithful to get you to the “other side”.
Remember, and keep on telling your “stories” so that you, your loved one’s, and those you meet on the journey never forget.
“He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate.”(Psalm 111:4)
Prayer: Lord please help me not to forget all that you have done for me. That I will have my own memorials to your goodness, love and faithfulness. I give you thanks. In Jesus name amen.