“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.”Joshua 4:6-7
When Rebekah and I were engaged, we visited a church for the first time on a Wednesday night. We entered in at the wrong door which attracted unwanted attention as we were just trying to make a quiet entrance. There were about 30 people there that night and the person standing at the small pulpit was not the pastor. The church was really friendly and they begged us to come back so that we could meet the pastor of the church who was scheduled to be back that coming Sunday. We liked the church, so we came back to meet the pastor and later joined and attended that church for almost 11 years. We attended many more Wednesday night services, but there was one Wednesday night that stood amongst the others.
I was on my way to work one early morning when I heard over the radio that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center buildings. The thought at the time was that it was a mistake but shortly thereafter, there was another plane that went into another of the buildings and the world as we knew it changed. I called a buddy on the phone who was in the Air Force at the time, and I awoke him from sleep as he had worked the night before. He was not aware of what was happening, but he called work immediately after our conversation. I got to work and it was hard to be productive that day as we were glued to the televisions and radio. We did not have all the details of exactly what had happened and we were all in shock. Tears streamed down people’s faces as they saw the utter destruction live on television.
09/11/2001 happened on a Tuesday, and I remember the eerie feeling of seeing no planes in the sky. We did not know if another attack was coming or what else to expect. My grandma, aunt, and uncle were set to come home from Chicago that day but they were delayed due to all planes being grounded. They were scared along with most other Americans.
The following day was a Wednesday and there were a lot more people there than the night when Rebekah and I first visited. The church was full of people as they came for answers, comfort and hope. We held a special prayer meeting that night as we cried out to God for protection, comfort, hope and understanding. The congregation was not distracted with other things, but everyone was honed in on the message to hear how God was speaking to them. Many people vowed to make changes in their lives as this event had gotten their attention and they were unsure if there would be a tomorrow. I made decisions myself as I evaluated my own life and spiritual condition.
I would like to say every Wednesday was just as full in the months following, but the crowd waned and we were left with those who typically attended Wednesday nights. The fear of the unknown was gone and it seemed like we went back to our old selves. We did not remember the changes we were convicted about, and the fringe people got comfortable again with their old lifestyles. A tragedy woke them up, but they soon went back to spiritual sleep as the song states, “prone to wander…prone to leave the God I love.” How soon we are to forget our need for God as the fear subsides and the conviction is quieted.
The children of Israel set up stones when they crossed over the Jordan River so they would be reminded of God’s goodness and all that He had done. The stones were a remembrance of all God had done to bring them to this point in their journey to the Promised Land. God knew they would be quick to forget all that He had done, just as we are quick to forgot His goodness in our lives.
Life went back to normal somewhat, and it seemed as though we forgot how badly we need Him. We got comfortable once again with our lives, and we foolishly forgot that He was there with us every step of the way as we cried out for answers and comfort.
Where are you today? Have you forgotten the goodness of God? Have you forgotten how He is always there for you? Do you only seek Him when you are scared or overwhelmed, or do you stay close to Him in every moment of life? At times, we foolishly treat God like a genie instead of our Heavenly Father. It is to our shame that it takes the “emergency” moments of life for us to remember our God. God is essential for every breath that we take, and may it not take a day of infamy for us to refocus and evaluate our life. God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.