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What Do These Stones Mean?

May 12, 2020 by Avis Hoyt-O'Connor (Maryland)

So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever.

— Joshua 4:7 (NRSV)

First there was one stone, painted with the symbol for balance, tucked next to the trunk of the old oak tree on the corner. Then there was another stone with a single word — HOPE — written with permanent marker. As the days went on, other stones appeared. One had dainty flowers, and another had a bright orange jack-o-lantern painted by a wavering hand. 

I was reminded of a story in the book of Joshua. As the people crossed the River Jordan, Joshua instructed the leaders of the 12 tribes to choose a stone from the riverbed. Joshua took these 12 stones and built a memorial so that later generations would know of the miracle they had experienced. The people’s children and grandchildren would ask, “What do these stones mean to you?” and the story would be told of God’s faithfulness as they wandered in the wilderness and as they passed through the waters unharmed. The stones would be a reminder of God’s presence during every hardship and trial. 

Likewise, in our days of social isolation, our tiny memorial on the corner has become for us a quiet reminder that God has not left us — that this difficult time will pass, that God's love is revealed right here, right now.

Prayer: Loving God, grant us the ability to see your light and to know your grace in the midst of our lives. Help us to remember your many miracles especially in difficult times. Amen.

Avis Hoyt-O'Connor (Maryland, USA)


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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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