What do your memories signify? Are they markers of personal history? Are they ghosts who haunt you? Burdens or joys? My memories are all those things, and something else: My memories are like stones that commemorate meetings with God.
Stones are markers of memory and permanence. In Old Testament times, people set up stones as memorial sites of meetings with God. When Jacob fled from Esau’s wrath, he used a stone for a pillow. That night he dreamed of a ladder to heaven and wrestled with an angel. The next day, Jacob used the stone to mark the memory:
Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel…Then Jacob made a vow, saying…”This stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house.” Genesis 28: 18-20, 22 NIV
Each time God’s people saw the stones at Bethel, they remembered Jacob’s meeting with God. That God came to dwell there once. And God was still there with his people every time they passed by.
Redemption and Rejoicing
As I write out painful memories, I set up virtual stones in my spiritual journey. God met me in that place, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. He was there when I acted in sin. He was there when I was overwhelmed with guilt. He was right beside me when I sobbed, collecting my tears in his bottle. He never left me alone. He is there, wrestling with me and strengthening me.
As I record happy memories, I praise God while I set more stones as markers. He was there when my babies were born. He was there when friends supported and encouraged me. He was there when my marriage was restored. He is there, guiding me and leading me on a new path.
My journals are stone pillars, full of God’s presence. I have kept a journal since the age of 11, and every so often I review what I’ve written. I am amazed at the treasures within: the sorrows God redeemed, the prayers he answered, the dreams he has brought to life. I am so thankful that God has been there with me in every memory, good and bad. He is my Redeemer in each one.
Lord, I praise you as my Redeemer. Thank you for the gift of memories. Thank you for promising to never leave me or forsake me. Thank you for being with me in each and every moment of my past. Teach me through my memories. Help me to trust you as I move forward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How are your memories markers of God’s presence? If you keep a journal, how can you use it to strengthen your spiritual journey?
See other posts in this series on memories:
Another post you may enjoy from my past blog Helianthus: