…I look at Faith and she smiles and says, “That’s why the storm was sent.”
“I don’t get it.” I tell her.
She says, “Do you see all those people? That storm was sent for them, but you are the one who had to sail through it. You are an overcomer. Because you are an overcomer your waters will rarely be calm. Because you are an overcomer your life will not be easy. Because you are an overcomer you will have to sail through storms simply so people can see that it’s possible. Because you are an overcomer you have no choice but to overcome.”
I have been pressing into the book of Joshua over the past few weeks. It is an inspiring part of the bible that not only challenges my heart, but also reminds my spirit that God is faithful in all circumstances. In Chapter 1:6 the Lord speaks directly to Joshua (the next in line after Moses passes away) and begins to prepare his heart for what is next for the people of God. The Lord instructs Joshua,
“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Just like a coach before the big game, God inspires and instructs Joshua of how to approach the next chapter of the story. First: Be strong and courageous. Second: Never let the book of instruction depart from your mouth. Third: I will be with you, Joshua, no matter what. Trust me.
HOW COOL IS THAT. I mean seriously. God knows Joshua is probably about to pee his pants and yet reminds him that he (God) has got it. Nothing is impossible.
A little later in the book (chapter 4:4) it states:
“So Joshua summoned the 12 men selected from the Israelites, one man for each tribe, and said to them, “Go across to the ark of the LORD your God in the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone onto his shoulder, one for each of the Israelite tribes, so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you? and you should tell them, ‘The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the LORD’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.”
The Israelites did just as Joshua had commanded them. The 12 men took stones from the middle of the Jordan, one for each of the Israelite tribes, just as the LORD had told Joshua. They carried them to the camp and set them down there. Joshua also set up 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing. The stones are there to this day.
The priests carrying the ark continued standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the LORD had commanded Joshua to tell the people, in keeping with all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people hurried across, and after everyone had finished crossing, the priests with the ark of the LORD crossed in the sight of the people. The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh went in battle formation in front of the Israelites, as Moses had instructed them. About 40,000 equipped for war crossed to the plains of Jericho in the LORD’s presence.
So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up from the Jordan.” When the priests carrying the ark of the LORD’s covenant came up from the middle of the Jordan, and their feet stepped out on solid ground, the waters of the Jordan resumed their course, flowing over all the banks as before.”
Verse 20 concludes with this:
“Then Joshua set up in Gilgal the 12 stones they had taken from the Jordan, and he said to the Israelites, “When your children ask their fathers in the future, ‘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 you 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 the people of the earth may know that the LORD’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the LORD your God.”
That is POWERFUL. God’s promises indeed are true. He was faithful to Joshua.
Stop and breathe that in for a minute.
God can be trusted.
He can be trusted.
That is huge. I truly believe there are moments in life when we need to remind our hearts of what God has brought us through and where he is bringing us today. To reflect and remember. That’s what the stones were for. To remind Joshua and the generations to come of what God did that day. Of what God had been doing for years.
So yesterday I wrote out my 12 stones of what God has done in my life over the past 9 years. It was a powerful time of reflection and worship. I challenge you to do the same. It was pretty simple. Rocks from my backyard + 1 sharpie pen + a heart full of praise. I can’t wait to add to the collection in the future. God is faithful and can be trusted in any situation.
A friend of mine, Emily Cole, is taking a big step. A step of boldness and faith. Proud of her. Here is her story intertwined in God’s story.
“Today is a day of lasts. It’s the last time I’ll get together with my LifeGroup girls before they head to college. It’s the last time we’ll all be together to talk and laugh and encourage and love on each other before they go off on the big freshman adventure. I’m really excited about what God is doing in each of their lives and pray that we keep in touch so I can hear all about what He will do in the future.
Like those soon-to-be-college freshmen, I too am heading back to school this fall. So this is my last day in the office at LifeWay. And this is my last post on this blog. It’s been an incredible five years here, and it’s extremely bittersweet to be leaving this place and these people who’ve loved and encouraged me as I spent my first years in the real world after college. I’ve learned so much … I can’t even begin to put it all into words!
And while my passion is still for girls and ministering to them, my focus looks a little different than most of yours. I am headed to law school this fall with hopes to become a legal advocate for victims of human trafficking, specifically those in sexual slavery. It’s been a long journey to decide to leave this job in order to start from scratch, but I know that I cannot stand by while this injustice rages on.
Psalm 10:17-18 has become my battle cry:
“LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their hearts. You will listen carefully, doing justice for the fatherless and the oppressed so that men of the earth may terrify them no more.”
As I prepare to start law school, it’s my prayer that those verses will keep me focused on why I’m there. I know that the road God is leading me down as a modern-day abolitionist is scary (because so much of it is unknown), but when you sense that He’s leading you, there is peace and excitement that makes the journey so worth it.
So farewell, faithful blog readers! I covet your prayers, not just for me, but also for those precious women and children who are in slavery.”