We serve a good God, and I’m constantly finding new favorite things about Him. One such example is His habit of building reminders into the culture of His people. He knew we have terribly short memory spans, and His compassion toward us prompted an insistence on visuals that would bring us back to truth. There’s a great story in Joshua 4 where the Lord calls His leaders to pile up some big river rocks so that “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
Can you even imagine just forgetting the fact that you walked across a river on dry land? I feel like I’d be telling that story so often that my kids would know it word for word. Who needs rocks? But then again, how many times have I been provided for in amazing ways only to forget the next time a difficulty arose? How many times have I not been intentional to return to what I knew about my Daddy, choosing to let lies inform my feelings? We all need piles of rocks spread throughout our personal storylines, revealers of what God has faithfully brought us through in order to show off His glory.
Have you ever heard an encouraging whisper to your heart while you listened to song lyrics? That could warrant a rock. Or has someone “randomly” taken care of you when you needed it most? That’s a rock moment. Big things and little things—allow them to be signified by stones of remembrance. God ordained those situations to carry you to a deeper awareness of His love or ability or trustworthiness or whatever. Treasure them by marking them. You might collect smooth river pebbles in a dish on your coffee table, each one representing a moment of the Lord’s activity in your life; talk about a great conversation starter! Or you could contribute a new stone every year on your spiritual birthday and reminisce about all God has done in and around you over the past 365 days.
We are forgetful people (me more than most). Hints set up around our homes or workspaces can be exactly what we need when a storm rises up. “Nope! I’m not going to get freaked out this time! I remember when ____________. God has never failed, and He’s not going to start now.” What a great weapon!
I’m all about celebrations at the moment, and this could turn into a very cool one. Why not make it a party? Invite your family and friends, grab some river rocks from the dollar store, light a few candles, play some worship music, and take turns claiming pebbles and telling stories of how you’ve seen the Lord work. (You could get super cheesy and offer rock candy as dessert. Sorry—I couldn’t help myself.) I think that kind of celebration is a pretty close echo to what we’ll spend the rest of eternity doing: piling up remembrances of a good God so that His praise will multiply among His people. It becomes a brag fest, not about ourselves but about the One who takes care of all our needs.
Going through some tough circumstances right now? Plan the party anyway. There’s nothing for encouragement like hearing from others who have been where you are and seeing how God showed up in the middle of the mess for them. It probably won’t look exactly the same for you because He likes “doing a new thing.” Creativity is a deep part of who He is. But it’s nice to know you’re not alone, that brothers and sisters have walked this leg of the journey and come out on the other side more solid than before. Part of living in community is celebrating with one another just as much as grieving with one another. Your rock might have some tears attached: “When I lost my baby, I felt God wrap me up in a more tangible presence than I’d ever felt before. It was exactly what I needed.”
We can help one another pile up rocks, pointing them out as we go along. “Hey, congrats on your new house! What a rock!” Most of all, lean in and listen to the nudge coming from the general direction of the Holy Spirit: “Psst! That one, right there, pick that one up and carry it in your pocket.” This fixation on marking the moments God reveals Himself will transform how you think, you speak, and how you live. Your whole life will become an altar of mounded miracles. I dare you to try it.
So, friends, rock on.