Stones of Remembrance
By Anthony Casperson
Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing a lot of a specific series of video games, probably too much if I’m being honest. As I’ve been playing through the games for the first time, those achievement unlocked pop-ups happen quite often. Make a certain choice instead of another: achievement unlocked. Complete a party member’s personal side quest: achievement unlocked. Bring a main quest plot point to fulfillment: achievement unlocked.
These types of unlocking moments might lead some to hunt down every single one (“platinuming” it in certain gamer parlance), but that sort of goal has never been something for me. Sure, I’ll try to experience every single tiny moment of the story. And I might even try to collect every single coin/gem/feather in order to gain a super special piece of equipment, which has some sort of tangible reward for my character. However, these achievements/trophies that the game awards automatically at certain milestones just isn’t for me.
It’s nice when they pop up, but they are rather quickly forgotten. It’ll appear up. I’ll read it. And then I’ll move on. I don’t look at how many of these achievements I’ve unlocked. The screen that displays all of those trophies might as well not even exist for me. Once it’s left the bottom part of my screen, I don’t ever think about it again.
This isn’t to say that all milestone celebrations are meaningless to me. The whole reason why I’m even thinking about them right now is because this is the 200th blog for Brushstrokes of a Theonerd. If real life were to have achievements to unlock, I think one would have popped up for me right about now.
However, if this were just an achievement for myself, I think it would be just like those little images for my game. It’d pop up. I’d see it. And then I’d move on to other things. Not really ever thinking about it again.
But this milestone of how many blogs have been uploaded for the website is about more than just my writing. In large part, this is an accomplishment that reminds us of the years of work that God has performed in our lives. How many of these blogs have caused us to experience him on a deeper level? How many have caused our eyes to tear up? How many caused us to cry out to him?
Celebrations like this one guide us to focus on God’s work in the past. And it reminds us that he will continue to be as faithful as he was before. The milestones of remembrance should lead us to worship him all the more whenever we look at them.
This is exactly what Joshua told the Israelites in Joshua 4. The Israelites came to the deep, swift-flowing waters of the Jordan River, the final boundary keeping them from entrance to the Promised Land. God had the Ark of the Covenant (the earthly representation of his heavenly throne) carried by the priests into the river. And just like had happened with the Red Sea, God caused the waters to stop their flow, leaving not a muddy wallow for the people, but rather dry ground.
All of Israel, the millions of people and their various animals, crossed while the Ark remained in the middle of the riverbed. But Joshua, by the command of God, had one man from every tribe carry a stone out of the riverbed. And we’re not talking pebbles here, rather something more substantial while still able to be carried out by a single person.
When all of Israel crossed, and the priests carrying the Ark walked out of the riverbed, the mighty river rushed once again in its natural path. The Israelites carried those 12 stones to the place where they rested that night. And Joshua piled them up, telling the people that these stones were to remind them and future generations of God’s great works from the Exodus until the day he gave them entrance into the land.
He reminds them of God’s work when they first left Egypt 40 years previous, when many of those present hadn’t even been born yet, and points to the similarities of this miracle. These 12 stones represented the entirety of God’s work in the midst of the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. Whenever anyone pointed at these 12 river stones outside of the Jordan and asked why they were there, the story would be told of God’s mercy in the lives of those he’d chosen to be his people.
The stones of remembrance remind us of God’s amazing work in our lives and move us to worship him as he deserves. So, with this 200 blog milestone, let’s take some time to worship God for what he’s done through them. And look forward to what he’ll continue to accomplish in our lives.