What Do These Stones Mean to You?
- Friday, July 09, 2010
In Joshua 3-4, the Bible tells the story of how the children of Israel passed through the Jordan River when God miraculously parted the waters. After the Israelites passed through the river, God told them to pick twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes and build their own altar. He wanted them to do this so that when their children passed by that way again, they would be spurred on to ask, "What do these stones mean to you?" The stones were meant to be a sign. The word used for "sign" in Hebrew meant "memorial marker."
I am sure we can all think of places where we would set our memorial markers. The first place to come to my mind is a graveyard where my father is buried. My father's death when I was 3 altered the course of my life forever. I can envision myself and my children gathered around the large memorial marker over the place where my father was laid. I can think of the things I would share with my children as they asked, "What do these stones mean to you?" I would tell them how this marks a time when I began to know God as Father to the Fatherless. One of the most important times was after my father died, in the bedroom of my mother, where I was led to meet Jesus as Saviour.
There are many other places I would like to have a memorial marker. I'm sure you would place memorial stones in some of these same places in your own lives. Like the place where I met my husband, and in the process met God again as the God Who Answers Prayer. There's the little white church where we were married, where I met God as the Fulfiller of Dreams. There's also the place where I almost died giving birth to our first son, where I began to know God as God My Healer. There are the places in which my oldest and I walked when he was small, where he began to know God as Creator. There's the place where I gave birth to our second son with no problems, knowing the Lord as God My Redeemer.
I would want a memorial marker placed in the little duplex where I almost died of Graves' Disease, where I found that God is a jealous God, wanting me to love Him for Himself and not for what He can do for me. Then too, there are the many places in my life where I fell. Where I went down the wrong path and met Him again as the God of Grace and Mercy.
Another marker could go in the church where we tithed, leaving no money for groceries, leaving us to eat Top Ramen again. We were met at the church by thirteen bags of anonymously provided groceries. In that small, rundown place, I met God as My Provider.
Yes, there are many places I would like to have left a memorial marker. If only I had thought of this sooner in life!
Of course, those places have all changed now. The place where I met my husband, where we shared our first kiss, was demolished to make way for other things. If I had left memorial stones in some of those places, people would have moved them or children would have carried them away to play with. With that thought in mind, I realized something new: most of us do have memorial markers. They just go by a different name. They are called photos.
My children do ask "What do these stones mean to you?" Not in the very same words. They use words like, "Tell me the story of me again" or "I remember this!" or even "Tell me about this one again, Mommy." Do I take the time to recall those memorial markers? Do I take the time to share what I learned about God? Do I share with my children the mighty miracles hiding in the photographs? Or do I rush through, only telling them the basics?
I am reminded of another scripture in Deuteronomy 6:7: "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
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