(Presented by Lisa Bishop)
Being grateful really is an attitude of the heart and a will of the mind. It requires a deliberate effort, a commitment to focus our attention and thoughts on who God is and all of the evidence of his faithfulness throughout our lives. When we are going through a challenging or uncertain season, it is easy to forget God’s character. When we are riding high, and life feels like it is smooth sailing, we are prone to do this same. We can tend to take all of the credit and forget that it is God who has provided and not merely our own self effort. So whether your current season feels like you are in a valley or on a mountaintop, remembering God and his faithfulness is essential.
In the book of Joshua we see a powerful example of remembering, and the call to gratitude.
After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years Joshua is positioned to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The Israelites endured an immense number of trials, tribulation, and trauma along the journey. Yet through it all and in the midst of their 40-year trek to freedom, God was with them every step of the way. We see that their long season of wandering comes to an end as they come to the Jordan River. God makes a way for them to pass through as he leads them to the land he promised, the land flowing with milk and honey.
After the people of Israel supernaturally crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, God commanded Joshua to “choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight’” (Joshua 4:2-3).
Then Joshua (4:6-7) says, “Let this be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
The stones were set up in Gilgal as a reminder to that generation and the generations to come of what the Lord had done, to trigger a memory of God’s faithfulness in the past, to reflect on him in the present, and trust him in the future, to invoke a heart of gratitude.
How are you remembering Jesus and expressing gratitude for his faithfulness today? To remember, you have to intentionally look. We can get so mired and fixed on the pain, uncertainty, and current hardship or struggle that we forget to take the time to reflect and recall all of the ways that God has been faithful. It can be easy to forget. How can you create your own stone of memorial, your own reminder that God is faithful, that his promises never fail?