Have you marked your path so you don’t forget where you came from – and what He brought you through?
Crossing the sidewalk in a zig-zag fashion, his charcoal-black color popping against the sun-bleached sidewalk, was a slug. I was struck with pained longing at the boys’ absence, knowing how much they’d enjoy this little fellow as he meandered across what must appear to him a raging river of cement.
Having two boys created in me a fascination with all things – okay most things – bug, insect, and creepy-crawly. (Large Arachnids need not apply.) I squatted down to admire the long journey he’d been on that morning, evidenced by the sparkly slime trail stretching out behind him.
A memory rose and fell, a sweet de ja vu with my younger son. While walking with Chase one morning, he ended up lying on his tummy on the sidewalk, face to face with a slug very similar to this one. Chase had been so excited because we’d recently checked out a book from the library about slugs and snails and learned about the trail of slime they leave in their wake.
“He marked his path in case he forgets where he’s from!”
Slugs cover themselves with a layer of mucous; it produces the shiny trail left behind them as they move. This prevents moisture from their bodies from being soaked up by the dry terrain they travel across.
As I carefully stepped over the slug and headed home, a story from the Bible came to mind. The boys and I had recently read about Joshua leading the Israelites through the Jordan River and into the Promised Land, and how God had held back the waters as His people crossed over the river.
“And it came to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” Joshua 3:13
After the people had safely crossed onto dry land, the Lord commanded Joshua and one man from each tribe to bring a stone from the river and “carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight” (4:3).
“And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever” (4:7).
In His infinite wisdom, God instructed Joshua and His people to mark their trail by placing a memorial in remembrance of what He had done. It wasn’t a pointless pile of stone and rock. Instead, it was a granite marker for generations to come that “Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land” (4:22).
It marked a miracle of epic proportions – and the faithfulness of a merciful God.
Have I marked the trail God’s brought me along? Do I make memorials along the difficult journeys that He lovingly lead me through – or do I allow my memories to fade under time’s relentless, battering winds?
God knows we will forget. He knows memories fade and the poignancy of miracles and His blessings will inevitably dull. Awed amazement can become blurred by time and compounding human experience.
These memorial stones were set up as a trail marker. Stones…unbreakable and if large enough, unmoveable. Solid, certain, unchanging. So much like what our faith in God should be because His love for us is exactly that.
Recently I organized some of the kids’ toys and ended up with an empty basket. It’s about a foot long and a few inches across, and it struck me that this could be a perfect memorial basket. God has been so faithful in our lives and I don’t want to forget what He’s brought us through individually or as a family. I plan to purchase stones (since Florida has an excess of sand but very few stones and rocks) and use a marker to write answered prayers on each stone.
As times passes, I pray we’ll reach into the basket and read the stones – remembering the trail of faith we traveled with our Savior, Creator and God’s Holy Spirit alongside.
“For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:23 & 24