Why Grown Ups Need Rock Collections

"Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he ad appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: "Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever." (from Joshua 3:10-4:24)

I think God is very aware of our human tendency toward forgetfulness. I think that's why He established so many traditions for the Israelites to follow. The Bible is full of feasts and festivals that the Lord established for Israel so they would remember his works.

It's probably also why He directed them to take stones from the bottom of the Jordan river as they passed through it. Yes, it was for future generations to have a tangible memento of this miracle, but it was also a reminder to the people who were there at the time. Even after the waters of a river at flood stage stacked up to create a dry passing, time passes and memories fade, and the miracle could begin to seem like a dream, even to eyewitnesses.

We're still like that today. We pray, maybe for a miracle; maybe just for an answer. But no sooner does the prayer escape from "our lips to God's ears" before we've forgotten that we prayed at all. That might indicate a great faith--we trust that our prayers will be answered so we don't need to keep checking on it. The problem is, it often means that we don't recognize answered prayer when it occurs. We need a way to commemorate those answers.

Hannah Hurnard illustrated this concept beautifully in her classic allegory, HINDS FEET ON HIGH PLACES. The main character, Much Afraid, is on a journey to the "High Places" where "perfect love casteth out fear." Along the way she learns many lessons about surrendering to the Chief Shepherd, and she commemorates each one by taking a special stone from the site and keeping it in a bag. At times the stones seem like useless baggage. Yet she remembers the promises that each one signifies, and they give her strength and the encouragement she needs to continue on her journey.

We have a couple of "rock collections." What looks like a pile of useless gravel to Hubs and me, can be explained in great detail by the boys. They remember where each one came from and why it's special to them.

I think we need to bring this childhood custom into our spiritual lives--create a collection of "stones" to help us through those hard times when the Shepherd seems out of sight and our own thoughts and fears seek to keep us from continuing along the path He's leading us on.As we move into a new year, it seems a fitting time to determine to commemorate God's blessings, gifts and lessons in the year to come. It could be a scrapbook, a memory box or a journal. Post-it notes with answered prayers in a mason jar.

You can even make a ceremony of adding to your collection. Bake a batch of these "Rock Cakes," explain to your family or Bible study group what the Lord has done and then add a memento to your collection. (You might be surprised how children will look for opportunities to add to the collection themselves.)

And later, when the road ahead seems to lead down to places of desolation rather than to the High Places, you can take out your mementos and see how far the Lord has led you and trust that He still knows the best path for your future.

How do you commemorate what God has done in/for you?

These cookies got their name because they look like rocks (not because they taste like them--the flavor is actually reminiscent of scones). Share them as a reminder not to forget the path the Lord has taken you down or the things He's taught you along the way.

Rock Cakes
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp milk
1 cup currants (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Mix flour, baking powder, and sugar together. With fingers, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Mix in currants or chocolate chips, add beaten eggs and milk, and mix to form a stiff batter.

Spoon mixture onto greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until tops are golden. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

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