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Looking Back to Propel Ahead: Lessons from Joshua

Looking Back to Propel Ahead: Lessons from Joshua by Laurene Klassen

May 20, 2023

Looking Back to Propel Ahead: Lessons from Joshua by Laurene Klassen

Photo by Me Ra Koh

Today’s blog is a guest post written by Laurene Klassen. Laurene served as a content creation intern for me in 2022. She is passionate about sharing her insights and experiences to encourage others in their faith. I know what she shares below will encourage you mightily, because it encouraged me! Thank you, Laurene, for giving us new ways to think about Joshua 4. You can connect with Laurene using the links at the bottom of this blog.

Have you ever felt a nudge from God to pursue something but hesitated to act on it?

That happened to me on New Year’s Day, 2021. 

I had stolen myself away into my sunroom with a warm cup of coffee, a brand-new legal pad, and an eagerness to plot and plan goals for the year. I paused, prayed, and felt a nudge to begin the year by studying the book of Joshua. “Joshua? Really?” I thought. I recognized God’s prompting but didn’t do anything immediately and went about planning my day. 

Later that week, during my devotions, the same whisper returned. This time I paid attention, grabbed my phone, and began searching until the study Ready: Finding the Courage to Face the Unknown by Heather Dixon caught my eye. It was a six-week study on Joshua that led me to The Rescued Letters, and it was through that pursuit I eventually became an intern. 

I loved the interactivity of the Bible study and companion video devotionals. I was so excited that I enlisted a girlfriend across the country to study with me. “Just do it at your own pace. She arranges assignments for every season and schedule of life, so you don’t HAVE to do it all if you can’t.” I said enthusiastically. We were both dealing with family trials and couldn’t set a regular meeting for a formal lesson, but we committed to text weekly about what we were learning. Two years later, my friend and I still share concepts we learned.

Building A Memorial

We learned about the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. After the crossing, the Lord commanded Joshua:

“Go across to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone on his shoulder, one for each of the Israelite tribes, so that this will be a sign among you.”
Joshua 4:5-6a (NIV)

God commanded these stones to be set as a memorial so the Israelites could remember God’s faithfulness. Our homework for that week was to consider your modern-day Jordan crossing and gather items representing God’s faithfulness in your life.

I thought about both sides of the Jordan River. On one side, I felt like I had previously visited the land of Milk and Honey, even recognizing the fruit He produced in a newfound promised land, while another part of me remained in the valley of despair. During that season of life, it seemed like my feet were on each side of the Jordan River.

Nevertheless, I took the time to write down objects I could gather as we learned that “memories of the past can bolster us for the future.” God knew the Israelites would need to look back to propel ahead, so I jotted some things I could use. However, for some reason, I never actually gathered the items. I suspect it was because I was too busy looking at the season of my circumstances. Why was Mother sick? How come she couldn’t get the surgery she needed? Why was I enduring the battles of this season? Amidst my questioning, I continued the study leaving that one assignment as the only item I didn’t complete. That is the only item I didn’t finish at that time.

God’s Perfect Timing

Heather shares in the video lesson accompanying that teaching, “When you’re ready, God will use your story to fan the flame for His glory.”  

Unbeknownst to me, several years later, I completed my memorial stone activity without any prompting. I was in a season of recognizing life losses and remembered the need to look back and see God’s hand shaping a more fantastic story. One that he could use if I would allow him to.

I bought a small treasure chest for a visual and placed my items as a symbol of releasing every trial to the Lord and honoring His healing works.

Photo by Me Ra Koh

I bought a small treasure chest for a visual and placed my items as a symbol of releasing every trial to the Lord and honoring His healing works. I searched for photos of my father before we lost him in a car accident. Shots of my mother during her healing journey reminded me of God’s faithfulness to my family. I found a replica of my childhood home and laid it there with the flood of memories it contained.

Some pieces were simpler to place than others. I added letters, childhood photos, and a bank from an employer who tried to steal my innocence. There were also coins to represent other stolen treasures and unfulfilled dreams. Each time I laid them down, I recognized God had been creating new stories out of painful memories despite my prior questioning.

Humbled, when invited to write this post, I knew I wanted to refer to the Ready study. I gasped as I flipped through the pages to see what I wanted to share. “Oh my! Look at this!”

Near the instructions for gathering your memorial, I wrote, “Include photos, coins, and hidden treasures.”  Though I had no recollection of writing this down, all these objects were now in my memorial.

I can see now that while I had feet on both sides of the Jordan, that didn’t scare God. His hand was still there, reaching out to help me get to the other side in His perfect time.

Getting Across the Jordan

Maybe you have felt like I have at times. Thankful for what God has done, but still hoping for more. As you enter this next week, consider reflecting and building your memorial to recognize God’s faithfulness in your life and let that speak to you as you continue to believe and pray for current circumstances. As you do, I believe He will reveal to you His patient pursuit and love for you during every step of the journey.

Finally, may you find hope and take confidence “that He who BEGAN a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

About the author

About Laurene Klassen 
From 9-5, Laurene Klassen works as a communicator and technical trainer in Dallas, Texas. She recently completed an internship with The Rescued Letters and is now pursuing Executive and Christian Coaching certifications where she is learning to help others say “YES” to growth.

Photo by Me Ra Koh

Laurene Klassen

From 9-5, Laurene Klassen works as a communicator and technical trainer in Dallas, Texas. She recently completed an internship with The Rescued Letters and is now pursuing Executive and Christian Coaching certifications where she is learning to help others say “YES” to growth.

Connect with Laurene

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