– Kelli Best
It was one of “those” times. A time we would rather forget; one that despite our recovery, we choose to ignore. No one is immune to experiences such as these. Painful occurrences can be of our own choosing, other times we are blindsided by the choices of others. Nonetheless, they happen and we are left with the aftermath of pain and brokenness, doubt and fear, guilt and shame.
Then Jesus comes! He bandages our wounds and tends to our scars, yet they remain. We can forgive, but it is difficult to forget. How long must we rest and heal? Are we supposed to forget?
The answers to these questions are given on an individual basis. Each one of us requires a different length of season for healing and rest after a traumatic experience. We cannot ignore the need for rest because Jesus has commanded us to do just that, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT). That seems easy enough, but what about the “forgetting” part?
In the fourth chapter of Joshua, after the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God instructed Joshua to choose twelve men, one from each tribe, to remove twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River. They were to go before the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant and wait until the priests were in the middle of the river. There they were to remove the stones from the exact spot where the priests stood. This sounds like such an odd request, but the reason becomes clear in verses 5-7, “Each of you is to take up a stone . . . to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
I feel as if I am in a river of turmoil sometimes. Perhaps the Jordan is symbolic of life as it ebbs and flows. Portions of the river are deeper than others. What I forget is that the deep places of hurt and despair are covered by the Lord and He can stop the waters right where they are. The river continues to flow, but for a brief moment when the water stops and He overshadows my pain, as the ark hovered over those stones, I am instructed to take something away to commemorate that time, a stone to remember.
Many times we assume that when healing comes our memories should be erased. However, we cannot forfeit recall for resolution. God wants us to commemorate seasons of difficulty and celebrate His sovereignty. Our mind must dwell upon His attentiveness to our difficulties and how we are changed in the midst of them rather than upon the challenge itself. These are the stones we need to celebrate and remember.
The stone at right is from the Maritime Museum in Astoria, OR. It is a permanent marker to memorialize the tragic sinking of the U.S.Navy schooner Shark. Etched on the surface are these words, “The Shark was lost, September 10, 1846.” The entire crew survived although the schooner was a complete loss. The event has long past, but the memory lives on and is a testimony to God’s saving grace and mercy. That stone needs to be remembered.
This picture is of a stone garden at the Japanese Garden in Portland. It is truly a garden of just rocks, however, each pattern set in place has purpose and meaning. These stones cause onlookers to recall certain memories depending on the particular pattern that they form.
We rest and remember because we are instructed to. Pull out a stone from the deep waters, etch something significant on it, and display it for all to see in the beautiful garden of your life.
Kelli Best and her husband, Bill, have two children; Ashlee is 22 and Paige is 15. Bethlehem Chapel in Eastern Washington is their church home where they have pastored for the last five years. They will soon celebrate 25 years of marriage and 27 years of ministry together. Kelli loves to read, drink coffee, cook and bake. Homeschooling is also a passion, which she has enjoyed for 15 years. Kelli and Bill graduated from Evangel University with their B.A. in Music Education and their home is usually filled with music. Kelli is the team leader for BONDED Women’s Ministry at Bethlehem Chapel and participates on the worship team. She is a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and plans to become ordained in the future. Read more from Kelli at kellibest.blogspot.com.