twelve stones

Today's devotion Joshua 3 & 4.

Today’s reading brings us into one of the most profound parts of scripture in my personal life. The crossing of the Jordan in Joshua 3 and 4 was used by God to encourage me when I was called into ministry. Let me explain how.

The Lord called me to salvation at the young age of 6. Many might ask if I was old enough to know what I was doing, and for years I questioned that myself. However, I knew I was a sinner. I knew I needed a Savior. I knew that could only be Jesus. What else did I need? I had faith like a child, and that is enough.

However, as the years moved on I drifted from my walk with God. I wanted to fit in with friends, so I adopted their a lot of the language and practices of my unchurched friends. When I hit high school, I went into a very rebellious downward spiral. Sure. On Sundays I went to church, and, truth be told, I wasn’t as bad as some people I knew. But the problem wasn’t just what I did, but where my heart was. I wasn’t in relationship with God.

When one of my best friends from childhood died at the hands of a drunk driver, God was able to renew His grip on my life. I began to change, slowly, but steadily. I rededicated myself to following Him. I began to see changes in my attitudes, thinking, and life trajectory. Things were going well…until July 1997. It was just before I was to begin my freshman year of college that God called me into the ministry. At first I was elated, then the Enemy began to remind me of my past. How could I preach the gospel when so many knew who I had been and what I had done.

I wish I could say that my faith soared, and I seamlessly transitioned into the ministry, but that would be a lie. I wrestled with this tension and guilt for years. Finally, God brought me to Joshua 4 and the stacking of the stones. Through this account He taught me a few things.

First, He taught me of the importance in having a testimony worn smooth by years of rough and tumble. The stones from the the river would look markedly different than those that had lain safely on the dry land. It was this difference that would cause people to notice them and ask about them.

Second, He taught me the importance of stacking them. These stones were not meant to weight down the Israelites as they moved forward. They weren’t supposed carry the weight of their past into their future. They were to stack them for others to see, but to leave them there. This spoke to me.

For too long, I was ok with having a testimony, but I wanted to carry the stones with me. I couldn’t leave the guilt in the past, where it belonged. You were not saved to keep living with the guilt of your past. You were saved so that the scars and evidence of those turbulent years could draw others to ask about how you were able to move forward. Those stones give glory to God, not by weighing down your present, but by freeing you to follow Him into your future.