I stood in that near-empty greenhouse. Rows and rows of bright, beautiful flowers sat perched in their buckets, tall and reverent. It was like they knew why we had come, and as we walked by, they leaned in and brushed us with scent-sations and memories like warm hugs. My sister’s arm was linked in the crook of mine, and we pulled out the palest pinks, the softest buds, and all the peonies.
We were building a spray that would adorn our mother’s casket in a few days. And with each flower added, I pleaded with my heart to rehearse His faithfulness.
He is good. My God is good. He can be trusted. His plans are for our good.
Sometimes I have to make room in my mind for what I know to be true about God.
Sometimes—sometimes—when the news is too hard to bear, when I don’t know what to do, when my heart is restless, when my feet won’t leave the bed—I have to remember what he has done. Remember and let the love of God transform my present emotions. To rehearse His faithfulness means to remember what He has done, to reflect on who He is, and to rest because of it.
He has been faithful. Remember what He has done? Trust him, Melissa. You’re in the cleft of the Rock of Ages.
Sometimes you and I touch our toes to circumstances that require us to hold in tandem what we are feeling and the Truth.
Do you remember the story of Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan in Joshua 3-4? The land of milk and honey was already promised to the Israelites; they just had to take possession of it. As Moses’ successor, Joshua, was called to lead a generation to consecrate themselves and cross the Jordan to receive the blessing.
God gives orders to Joshua: When the feet of the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant reach the edge of the waters, they are to stand in the Jordan. And then comes a promise. When their feet touch the waters, the waters will be cut off and will stand up like a mass.
This promise and this strategy, however, will require one obedient leader, a host of priests, and the whole camp to rehearse His faithfulness.
Can you just imagine? Though Scripture does not tell us what they are thinking, I can just imagine some of the thoughts going through the minds of the priests. Off in the distance was the land promised to their parents and grandparents. Stories such as crossing the Red Sea, of Moses coming down from the mountain having just encountered Holy God, of the Lord promising, and providing, manna in the wilderness. They must have been rehearsing—remembering, reflecting, and resting—in their parents’ and grandparents’ stories of God’s faithfulness. They must have been rehearsing their own stories of how God proved Himself over as they stood in those waters, and as those waters parted, and as those waves stood high above their heads, and as they watched the faithfulness of God unfold before their very eyes once again. And as the whole of the camp walked through victoriously:
Stand. Trust. Wait. Faithfully remain. Remember. Just abide. And worship. For our God can be trusted. He is faithful.
And after all the Israelites were safely on dry ground and with the priests still standing in the middle of the Jordan, the God who parted the waters asked His people to do one more thing: to set up memorial stones.
Joshua himself built a memorial of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan. Likewise, twelve stones were selected from the middle of the Jordan and carried by twelve men—one man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel—and placed on the banks of the Jordan and later Gilgal. These memorials stood both to glorify God and to remind the Israelites what He had done. They were to be a visual reminder of His faithfulness and might.
Joshua tells the people, “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…” (Jos 4:22).
Out of impossible circumstances, deep wounds and deepest pits, God makes great things. His plans continue. He parts waters. He turns bitter to sweet (amen!). He restores. And in the process He molds our hearts to be more like His. He is faithful, His ways are faithful, and His words can be trusted. He is faithful.
What are your God stories? What are your manna stories of God’s provision? What did He rescue you from? Are you recording them as to glorify Him and remember what He has done?
Let me ask you another question. Do women that are in your sphere of influence know your God stories? Do your young adult children know? By your testimony, do they know that they, too, can stand, and trust, and wait, and faithfully remain as they learn to taste and see that He is faithful and grow deep roots of faith?
Where are your memorial stones?
One of my most treasured earthly possessions that I share with my sister is my mother’s Bible. Before she died, I was flipping through it one day and asked her about the dates scribbled beside passage after passage. I’ll never forget her answer. She said, “They’re my reminders of God’s faithfulness to me on days when all I could do was hold fast to the confession of our hope, for he who promised is faithful.”
I’ll be visiting a greenhouse later this week. As I pick out the palest pinks and softest of buds for a memorial wreath in celebration of her birthday, I’ll be remembering her words. Her own God stories of faith still teach me to look to God for mine. And as I lay those flowers and those stories down on the grassy mound, I’ll be rehearsing His faithfulness.
We can join David and say, “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” When we rehearse His faithfulness, He dances us to victory.
Here’s a few ways you can preserve your stories, too:
- Purchase a journal and let this be where you write down your stories of God’s faithfulness. Keep it with your Bible and daily devotional. Date your entries. Be vulnerable and use it when you mentor, disciple, and counsel women. Get it out and read through it with your high school and young adult children or grandchildren.
- Gather 12 somethings (seashells, stones, jewelry beads, moss balls) and make your own memorial. Place it in a prominent seat in your house (on the wall as canvas art, in a dish on your coffee table, etc.) Great conversation piece.
- Embellish a reclaimed wooden candle holder with trim, beads, or paint. Place a pillar candle on top. Every time you light the candle remember His faithfulness.