It has been 356 days since I have moved (back) to Minnesota from San Diego. Nearly one whole year has passed! As with many things it feels that I’ve both been here forever and that I have also just arrived. Looking back has a funny way of putting things into perspective. When I am frustrated at the current rate of my life, all I have to do is look back and remember all the wonderful things God has done in just one year. God has done so many amazing things in the Youth Ministry in this last year. We’ve seen a handful of students give their lives to Jesus, and our services have been full of the presence of God! Students have been bringing friends to youth and even their parents to church! God is adding to the youth ministry and the church! In my personal life there is one major change: I am engaged! That still feels weird to say... When I pause and look back at the wonderful things God has done, I am reminded that He has been with me every step of the way!
Looking back reminds me of a story in the book of Joshua. The Israelites were trusting their lives into God’s hands to lead them into places they have never been before. “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before” Joshua 3:4 (NIV). All they had was their faith in God that He would in fact lead them into His promises for them. When they came up to obstacles God would always keep His word and get them through all that came their way. There was one instance in which they came up to the Jordan River which was in flood stage and an impossible obstacle to overcome. It was there that God once again showed up in a miraculous way. When the priests who were carrying the arc of the covenant “touched their feet to the waters edge” (Joshua 3:15), the waters parted and they crossed through on dry ground! God had once again come through! They knew God was on their side. They knew there was nothing God couldn’t do; so, they built an altar on the other side so they would never forget what God had done. “And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.” Joshua 4:20-24 says, “He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
Altars are an important part of life. They give you faith through remembrance. We can often forget in the ordinary moments of life all the things that God has done. If you are where I find myself, struggling to find faith for today: create an altar of remembrance. Look back and worship God for all He has already done. I believe it will give you the faith and the strength you need to continue on the journey God has for you.