I think we can all agree that 2020 was a rough one. As I ponder what 2021 might hold, I’m hit with conflicting feelings— excitement for the new, anxiety for the unknown. And if I’m honest, sometimes the fear of the unknown can crush any desire to dream of the goodness that this new year could hold. Perhaps it’s a guard I’ve put up in effort to block the blows that may come. As I wade between my conflicting feelings, I feel the Lord gently whisper just one word: “Remember.”
This year throughout my study, it’s come to my attention how many times scripture calls God’s people to remember. In Joshua 3, we find the Israelites in the home stretch of their journey to the Promise Land. They found themselves standing before the Jordan River, where God, once again, split the waters as the priests stood with the ark of the covenant in the center. He was leading them out of the wilderness and onward toward promise.
In chapter 4, the Lord gave one final instruction as they transitioned from one season into the next. He commanded Joshua to choose twelve men, one from each tribe, to take twelve stones from the very place where the priests had stood, the place where the Lord delivered them safely across the river. The Lord commanded them to carry them with them. These stones would serve as a symbol of their deliverance from the wilderness, as well as the fruition of God’s promise.
Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until they had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over. This is so that all people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you will always fear the Lord” (Joshua 4:21-24).
You see, God, in His kindness, knew His people would need reminders of His faithfulness. Why? Because life is hard. And just like the Israelites, we also need to be reminded of His faithfulness in our own lives. We will not always be on the mountaintops, and when we find ourselves in trial, we, too, must remember the countless times God has delivered us. It keeps us focused, trusting that the God of the universe and God of our hearts can do all things. And just like those stones, carry them with you–those moments He’s already shown himself faithful to you. Because it’s those moments that will also carry you. Write them down. Memorialize them however you choose, but remember.
So, if you find yourself discouraged or afraid to hope or dream this new year, recall these three words: Remember the Lord.