We’ve Come A Long Way…Baby!

Growing up, I loved commercials. Now I revel at the opportunity to DVR a show and furiously fast forward pass them. But in the early 70s, I recall the slogan, “You’ve come a long way baby.” It was an advertisement for cigarettes, marketed toward women – more specifically tall, slender, White women, marking a cultural shift, so to speak at a time when women were gathering to move forward an agenda to be seen and treated equally as their male counterparts. It’s been well over 40 years since I’ve thought about the tagline, that is until the masters candidate uttered those very words, minus the word “baby.” She loves order, always has. She volunteered to clean out our shed. Inside of it, lies the history of us. Papers, awards, pictures and God knows what else. Over several days, she poured over receipts and documents, academic papers and accounts that chronicled time before she was born, and many years thereafter. She asked questions, remarked on tangible expressions familiar to her, laughed and shook her head as to why I would retain such memorabilia. I thought to myself, “Of course for her E-True Hollywood story,” that she always promised would be made about her life; but likely more authentically, because I have a hard time parting with memories and secondly in honor of Joshua 4:21-22, “He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean’? Tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.”

When I heard her words, tears swelled in my eyes. I responded, “God has been faithful.” The worship that overcame my being manifested in such a way that I’m not certain I’ve experienced in nearly five months. Why yes, I’ve worshipped, prayed, danced, listened to sermons and read my Word to encourage myself, but it is something about a tangible reminder from God himself, embodied in your seed that brings one to center and engage with the audience of one. Each of those artifacts were remarkable examples of the extent to which God was a keeper, a deliverer, a healer, a sustainer, an encourager, a peacemaker, a solace, and a pillar. As we poured through life that predated her (which seems strange), and life thereafter, there wasn’t one account whereby no matter how difficult the circumstance, that God did not avail Himself, His ever present help and His lovingkindness. It’s been days since she uttered those words, and they continue to resonate in my spirit, reminding me of days when I thought this is absolutely it, and I cannot go on, I don’t have the strength to go on….but God!

The “stones” that Joshua spoke of are applicable to us. One doesn’t have to be a pack rat to understand his admonishment. Yet it is not enough to simply notice the markers and tracings of our past, but it is most appropriate to honor God by changing our behavior in response to His goodness. As God blesses us, how might we take opportunity to bless others? As God endows us with wisdom, how might we share His knowledge with those operating in foolishness? As God loves us, how might we demonstrate gentle expression to others? For it is our changed exhibition in the earth that thereby allows others to say as well, “We’ve come a long way.”

I don’t care what you are facing, God will provide a remnant from your past to assist you in the navigation of your now. He’s never had to fight or create a movement for you to receive what you’re due. That was done at Calvary as Jesus shed His blood for you and me. The manner by which we honor that sacrifice is coming into the knowledge of who He is, and walking it out in the earth in such a manner that He is pleased. He is still saving us, still savoring in us, still determined to not box us up as a memory. He is fervently awaiting our response to the stones. He wants us to recognize how far He’s brought us, and that we didn’t do it alone or in isolation. There He is, amidst everything we’ve been through, what we’re going through and what we will go through. As we nestle ourselves in the Great I Am, we can appreciate Him so much more and fully embody the representation of the stones in our lives. We’ve come a long way, baby! God be praised. God be praised.