Family “treasures” fill my grandmother’s cedar chest. Every so often, I sit on the floor of my bedroom and shift through all the things buried inside. While I hunch over the open lid, my mind travels to days past.
Have you ever looked through a trunk or box full of old keepsakes and been flooded with sweet memories long forgotten? It’s funny how our minds work. Significant events and dearly loved people get pushed to the dark recesses. Then when a physical item connected to that memory shines a light in that dusty place we remember.
I’ve had many encounters with God and witnessed His activity around me over and over again. But sadly my memory is short. I tend to forget what He’s done for me. Over time the awe and wonder of seeing Him work around me dims. I allow dust and cobwebs to settle on the memory of God’s miracles.
God’s Memory Tool
God knows us so well. He knew our memories would be short. So He gave us spiritual markers. My favorite example of a spiritual marker is found in the book of Joshua. God led His people across the Jordan into the Promised Land (Joshua 3:14:17, 4:1-24). When the priests stepped into the water carrying the Ark of the Covenant, God stopped the water upstream from flowing. All the people crossed over on dry land!
After they crossed, God told Joshua to have one man from each tribe pick up a stone from the riverbed and use them to build a memorial. Joshua told the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘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 crossed over.” (See Joshua 4:21-23.)
God wanted His people to mark and remember this event. He wanted their children and grandchildren after them to know and remember it too. So He gave them a visual reminder, a physical memory prompter. The memorial was to be a permanent reminder to God’s people and the nations of God’s power – a spiritual marker.
Jesus did the same when He established the Lord’s Supper on the night He was betrayed. He gave us a visual reminder of His sacrifice for us. Some things are just too important to forget.
What are “spiritual markers”?
A “spiritual marker” is a tangible, physical object we deliberately choose to represent God’s significant presence and activity in our life. This “God event” could be a spiritual encounter, a clear call to service, a specific time of divine direction or intervention, a miraculous act, or more. This object will serve as a permanent reminder of what God has done in our lives or a time that He taught us something new about who He is or how He works.
I have a print that portrays Jesus with the one lamb that wandered away from the 99 others (Luke 15:4-10). My husband bought it for me to mark a glorious season we spent on the front row of God’s activity. We were blessed to witness and participate in God drawing dozens of lost people to Himself through an adult Bible study we led when we lived in Alberta. This print hangs in a prominent place in our home. (It was during this time I wrote the study “God’s Truth Revealed.”)
The Value of Spiritual Markers for You and Your Family
Do you have any spiritual markers? Should you have a few? There is great value in working to purposefully remember what God’s done in our lives. Here are three specific benefits:
- They provide opportunities for you to tell others of God’s mighty acts – The presence of these objects in your home provide the opportunity for you to tell their story. Answer the questions people ask and purposefully use them to start conversations.
- They help pass your family’s spiritual stories to the next generation – The stories connected to them provide a way for your children and grandchildren to be “involved” in God’s past activity. Your story becomes their story.
- They show the context of God’s ongoing activity in your life – Past spiritual markers can help you discern God’s future direction for you, like signposts on your path. Reflecting on God’s past work in your life can help illuminate His current or future direction for you.
What Should Be “Marked”?
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; I will remember your miracles of long ago. (Psalm 17:11)
How do we know what activity or event to memorialize? Anything that God does in or around your life that impacts you in a significant way is “marker worthy”! But if you need a few guidelines…
- Mark things that only God can do like the lost coming to faith in Christ, a heart changed, or a miraculous event.
- A time when you learned something new and significant about God.
- A period when God worked through your life to accomplish His purposes.
- Anything that is simply too important to forget.
Remembering what God has done also helps us to give Him all the glory He is due! What do you need to remember with a few well-placed markers?
By the way, if you’d like some encouragement to help you get in and stay in the Bible check out the closed Facebook group “Reading the Bible Together.” We start a week in Joel today and then we move into Hosea. I would love for you to join us!