As a mother and a teacher I am constantly amazed at what comes from the mouths of children. Leave it to the children to ask all the big questions:
How do birds stay up in the sky?
If God lives in my heart, what happens when I get sick?
How come we can only go to heaven to stay, doesn't God like Visitors?
And of course the ever loaded question, Where do babies come from?
However simply they put them our children, our students ask big questions.
How about this question, right in the middle of the story of crossing the Jordan River— What do those stones mean to you?
In this story the Israelites are about to enter the promised land. The only obstacle is the Jordan River. God miraculously stops the river and they cross on dry ground. The crossing of the river is central. But throughout the story something catches our attention. Stones. Stones are an important part of the story. The people take stones from the river and place them in a heap. The end of this story is not the crossing of the river, but the pile of stones they raise and their significance. The story tells the purpose of the heap of stones. They are a reminder, a memorial of this event.
This was a visual reminder of this amazing miracle. God wanted them to be reminded often of how much he had done for them because he loved them. Anyone who comes later to the Promised Land and has not seen first hand the miracle of God, will see the heap of stones and ask, ‘What do those stones mean?'. The answer to this question will recount an amazing act of God. God wanted the Israelites to pass their experience with him on to the next Generation. Those stones are reminders of God's love.
Pick up a stone. Hold it. Feel it.
The stone in your hand is a visual reminder for you today. If we are not careful, this event becomes simply a memorial to a long past event that really has little meaning for us, beyond saying, "Yeah that was neat, how God did that. Nice history!". Don't let this stone become simply another cold, lifeless monument to the past.
The stone in your hand is an anchor. It tells you where you have been, who God is and what he can do. It connects the past to your present.
As a teacher, I must admit that I live in the same "real" world as my students. I must know that they cannot always see God at work in miraculous ways. My job is to help my students know that He is there. Often, children do not know what decisions to make because they do not know how things will go. The events around them are changing fast. How can we help our students, our children face a future that we can't even imagine?
Look at your stone. Let it remind you of the incredible job of being a teacher, a parent, an example. You should be constantly piling stones. Stones that come from life experiences. Stones that come from examples of those who have seen first-hand their lives empowered by a God who is really God.
I encourage you to place this stone in a place where it will be noticed by many. Know the story behind it so that when a child asks a simple question like, "What does this stone mean?", you can share its story. You can take the opportunity to say through the stone:
"I met God, and I know that the LORD is powerful. I want you to know so that you might be in AWE of the God who is God".
Use this stone to remind you of how you are to help others make stepping stones in Faith. Share God's promises. Remind them that His promises are steps that bridge the past with the present. These stones are reminders of what God has done. True miracles. True Blessings.