Updated: Jan 30, 2021
I love, love, love the book of Joshua. It is full of promise and encouragement.
Chapter 4 tells the story of God holding back the waters of the raging Jordan river so that the Israelites could cross over to the other side on dry land. Can't you just see it? The mental picture is amazing! God tells Joshua their leader to have the twelve tribal leaders each pick up a stone from the river bed as they cross and build a memorial alter on the other side. This was so that future generations would see it and be retold the story of how God provided a way for them. When there was no way, God worked a miracle.
That rock pile would be a reminder that God had been faithful to them in the past and that they could rely on him in the future.
This passage really speaks to me when I am challenged by circumstances and uneasy about the future. This memorial that Joshua had set up served as a reminder. It was not to be a focus on the past... as though their best days were behind them, but as a prompt to remind the Israelites that they had a God they could trust for the future.
Our world is a pretty messed up place right now. Sometime it is very difficult to hold hope for peace. But, I do not believe that our best days are behind us. And, I do not believe that God will ever lead us back to restore our past "good old days"... they weren't that good for a lot of people. He may let us roam around in the Desert of Wait for a while until we learn how to prioritize the right things and trust Him in deeper ways. But, ultimately God leads us forward... toward the promise... sometimes into deep water where belief and trust, and straight up obedience are essential. He may lead us into uncharted, flood stage, rushing waters. We can believe and trust, and obey him in and for our future because we have seen for ourselves, experienced in our lives and have heard others testify of his faithful provision, his miraculous provision in the past.