Updated: Jan 31
A Stones of Remembrance Project
Who you step foot into a quickly flowing river that was more than 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep? A miracle that is not as well-known as the crossing of the Red Sea but is actually just as significant is when God parted the waters of the Jordan River close to the promised land. At the time that the Israelites crossed the Jordan opposite Jericho, the river was flowing rather rapidly due to the rainy season. The Jordan river itself had a high flow prior to the time when Israel diverted part of it for water supply in the late 20th Century, so it flowed rather rapidly. In the area opposite Jericho, historians believe the river extended at least 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep. (https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/wide-deep-jordan-river-israel-crossed/)
As recorded in Joshua 4, before the Israelites crossed over, Joshua instructed twelve men, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, to each gather a stone from the middle of the Jordan and carry it over with them. God had commanded each man to take the stones and set up a memorial on the side of the Jordan, at the site known as Gilgal. God instructed the Israelites that when their children ask what the stones mean, they were to tell them about how the Lord had allowed them to cross over the Jordan with the ark of the covenant on dry ground.
Throughout the Bible, God command His followers to “remember’ and “not to forget” often. He created us, so it seems natural that He’d know how forgetful we are. I find myself standing in the middle of my kitchen often trying to remember why I even came in there in the first place. How many times of you forgotten where you left your phone, your purse, or your keys? He knows that we need reminders of how He was reliable in the past to help grow our belief in God to show up in our current circumstances. Philippians 4:6-7 instructs us to, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I believe that the reason that God tells us to pray with thanksgiving when we face challenging circumstances is because He knows we need to remember. We need to recall how God has been faithful to us in the past. We need to recall that He always has a better plan and has brought about our (eventual) good and His glory in the past. When we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to us in the previously, it builds our faith in our current circumstances and reminds us that God is indeed bigger than our circumstances.
Are there ways God has been trustworthy in the past that you haven’t shared with your children? Our kids need to borrow some of our faithfulness to build their belief in a God Who is good, despite our circumstances. They need help focusing on the joy of the Lord in the midst of struggles. Consider making your own memorial stones to display at your own Gilgal in your home. Talk about your stories of God’s faithfulness with your children often and allow them to add to the collection. Here are my ideas for creating your own Gilgal.
1) Enjoy an adventure where you go to a creek bed or canyon with rocks. Gather several smooth stones for use in creating your memorial stones. Grab some paints and allow your children to paint on them to remind them of ways God has been steadfast. Share some stories of God’s faithfulness shown to them before they were born and allow them to design the artwork and also encourage them to add their own stones which represent one or two stories of God’s faithfulness to them in the past. To preserve the paint, consider covering them with a coat of clear paint.
Add stones periodically to your collection; you might consider doing this once a year, like on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. You might display these stones in a jar or clear vase, on a board mounted on the wall, or on a shelf. If you are less artistic, you can just write out a word or two to remind you of a story you can share to remember God’s faithfulness.
You could choose to pick one night a month to take a stone out of the container and share the inspiring story of God’s goodness.
2) Gather small items to be placed on a display shelf to remind you of your own stories of God’s faithfulness to you. For example, These items can be displayed in your home and make a great conversation piece.
3) Hand a small bulletin board that you decorate with memories of God’s faithfulness. You may chose to hand paper stones that are decorated to represent your story of faith.
4) Create a Memorial Stones journal that you record incidents form the past where God was faithful, provided for you, or protected you. Read them periodically to your children and consider adding to them once a year.
5) Type of your memories in a word processing program and continue to add to them. This will make it easy to send stories of God’s faithfulness with your children when they leave home.
Consider posting Joshua 4:24 near your area of remembrance - “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”