Aah... the ‘Promised Land’, the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’.... it was so very close; but yet, still so very far, because the Jordan River stood in the way.
You know the story.... God parted the water for the Israelites to cross. We’ve heard it so many times that it may have lost its magnitude. Take a minute to really think about that...
God parted the water!
Let’s take a look and make some important observations.
Joshua 3: 14-17
“So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground"
-- The river was at flood stage... so it was raging, powerful, rushing water carrying extensive debris. I imagine the Canaanites felt that the flooded Jordan River would protect them from the approaching Israelites.
-- The water didn't stop flowing until the priests took a step of faith... it wasn't until their feet ‘touched the water's edge‘ that the water stopped flowing.
--- Did you notice that the whole nation crossed on DRY GROUND? God didn't settle for stopping the flow of water and leaving them with a muddy path. No, instead He gave His children DRY GROUND.
What is your ‘raging Jordan River’ today? What trials are you facing that look overwhelming and impossible? For many of you, it is the death of your husband. It could be your financial situation. Perhaps it is a lost job or troubled children. What is God teaching you and how is He responding to your needs? Are you willing to step into the ‘river’ before God stops the water? Are you willing to take the step of faith He is asking you to take? Do you believe He will part the water? Do you believe He will usher you across on dry ground?
Stones of Remembrance
Once God parted the water, the Israelites were instructed to collect 'stones of remembrance'...
Joshua 4: 4-7
"So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 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.”
We will have many 'Jordan Rivers' to cross in this life. I hope you are collecting your ‘stones of remembrance’ along the way. Perhaps in a notebook, a scrapbook, a journal, anything really. For me it is a small wooden box on my coffee table where I keep notes of how God has brought me through trials, answered my prayers, or simply taught me valuable lessons… where I commemorate milestones in my relationship with God. When I am discouraged, I take them out and I remind myself of the amazing things God has done for me personally.
Honestly, in my widowhood journey, there have been many ‘Jordan Rivers’ to cross... but God has been overwhelmingly faithful and has continued to stop the rushing water so I was not swept away. I have added an amazing collection of ‘stones’ to my little wooden box during this journey.
I hope you commemorate milestones in your relationship with God as well. When you are discouraged, take them out and remind yourself what God has done for YOU personally! Remind yourself that He has stopped the rushing waters and allowed you to pass on dry ground. It may not have been in one swift move as the Israelites seemed to experience, but I know you have stories! Keeping and sharing those stories honors God, it encourages us, and it encourages other believers.
God is amazing... and each of us have (or will have) incredible stories to tell of how He has brought us through the stormy, raging, powerful, flooded waters that infiltrate this journey we call [life], [widowhood], [you fill in the blank].
May you have the courage to take the step of faith God is asking you to take... and may you experience His 'Jordan River parting power' that leads you through on dry ground.
And please don't forget to collect your 'stones of remembrance'.
— Robyn Alsip Arce, © 2021