It’s that time of year. The shine of a new semester is beginning to lose its luster, and the stress of mounting assignments and impending exams is upon us. In this unique moment, our hearts and minds are full to the brim with emotions and expectations. It is admittedly easy to become overwhelmed and absorbed by what we want and need to accomplish. However, amid our personal perils, there is something greater than our own plans unfolding.
Embedded in the Gospel is a powerful reminder of God’s incarnate love for us and his steadfast faithfulness: Christ came down from Heaven to save sinful and self-centered people. He came for each one of us. This display of love is eternally captivating. Yet, we are a people prone to wandering. We too often forget, in our daily triumphs and disasters, the wonder and power of this story and its continuing implications for our lives. We, like the Israelites, question God’s faithfulness. Is He truly with us in the late nights of studying and drafting? Will he truly carry us through the daunting to-do lists, difficult relationships, and uncomfortable opportunities on the horizon? As I pondered such questions, I was reminded of a closing point from a chapel message delivered last semester by Coach Chuck Breton. He urged us to tangibly reflect on Christ’s steadfast love by collecting “stones of faith.”
The idea of stones as symbols of God’s unwavering faithfulness is not novel; stones have been used in this way since biblical times. For example, in Joshua, as the Israelites journeyed to the Promised Land, the Lord held back the Jordan River, allowing His people to safely cross with the Ark of the Covenant. Joshua 4:4-7 says: “So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, ‘Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, “What do these stones mean?” tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.’” A tangible memorial was erected as a reminder of God’s faithfulness both to those who directly experienced God’s provision and to their future generations.
Breton recognized this biblical use of stones and spoke about how his own “stones of faith” enabled him to share his personal testimony of God’s faithfulness with his children. As some of us look ahead to our parenting days, this image is beautifully inspiring, and we would be wise to implement Coach Breton’s advice in the future. However, collecting “stones of faith” also has significant meaning for us here and now.
In the midst of a storm, we instinctively reach for something to cling to. Tangible reminders of God’s unwavering faithfulness provide a strong pillar for our hands and souls to grasp. In light of this truth, I challenge you to consider collecting your own “stones of faith.” Where are the tangible reminders of God’s steadfast faithfulness in your life? Perhaps, they are praises on sticky notes displayed over your desk. Maybe they are keys that represent different doors God has opened and closed in your life. They could even be literal stones from places in your life through which God has guided and sustained you. I encourage you to consider what “stones of faith” you can cling to as a testimony of God’s faithfulness in the semester to come.
Love this!! I’m going to make a stone jar!