Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write about this battle. Write these things in a book so that people will remember what happened here. And be sure to tell Joshua that I will completely destroy the Amalekites from the earth.”
Then Moses built an altar and named it, “The Lord is My Flag.” Exodus 17:14-15 ERV
For generations, people have kept diaries and journals. I recently began reading The Secret Holocaust Diaries, written by a young girl from a well-to-do Russian family who lost everything, traveling with her mother to the slave labor camps (not concentration camps) in Germany during WWII. She kept her memories in thin journals and on scraps of paper, hidden in a pillow she tied around her waist, made of black and white ticking.
For years she kept her writings secret, Even when she came to America and experienced a safe environment for the first time in her life, she kept her writings and her past hidden. She made pilgrimages to the attic where she transcribed her journals into English on yellow legal pads, processing the horrors she had experienced. A lifetime passed before she was finally ready to share her memoirs with her husband and family. She wanted them to understand who she was; the events that had shaped her life and molded her future. But she made him promise he wouldn’t make her secrets public until after she died.
I am thankful that she chose to share her life because there is a richness of faith and the presence of God so evident in her life, in spite of the horror and pain. Though my own “wilderness journey” seems harsh and difficult to me as I remember it, hers was even more so and helps me put things into perspective.
I became a writer for much the same reason – to make sense of my past and to share the lessons I learned with others so they might come to know the hand of God in their lives.
God “called” Moses to become a writer too – to write down the details of Israel’s first battle as a nation so future generations could see and remember God’s hand with them. Moses didn’t stop there. He authored the first five books of the Bible which detail Israel’s history from the beginning of time until they stood as a nation on the brink of the inheritance God promised their forefather Abraham.
God intended that those writings would become a historical record of his love and care for his people so that future generations would be able to know without a shadow of doubt that God loved them too. These writings have helped to heal the nation of Israel countless times through their history as they drifted away from God and then returned to him.
His writings still influence countless pilgrims as they take a journey to healing which leads through the wilderness. When I first began my healing journey, many of the promises I clung to came from the stories of Israel’s healing journeys authored by Moses in Genesis through Deuteronomy. Their stories banished my feelings of aloneness on the journey and gave me hope to believe that God was the same today. If he loved and delivered the Israelites, he would do the same for me.
Today, think about all the stories you can remember from the wilderness journey of the Israelites. Which ones stand out to you and why? How has God used those same stories to influence your life or strengthen your faith? Write about these things.
If you don’t already keep a journal, maybe it’s time you should!