Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stone Altars

In 2011, our family moved back from living overseas. Although we were thankful to be back home, we quickly missed our friends in Australia. Except for the disappearing Aussie accents our little girls had, there was little here to remind us of our adventure. A few souvenirs and some photos.
It's been 6 years since we've returned and I wish we had built an altar to the Lord to prompt us to share the story of God's goodness as we ministered to the Australians.
I have a desire to preserve and commemorate moments from that part of our history. Our children were young enough to forget most of what they were experiencing but the ground under our feet has been rich in growth and perspective. I want to be intentional about memorializing significant events.
One of the best examples of this intentionality is from ancient times when people built stone piles or "cairns" (interesting; this is also the name of one of the last towns we visited before leaving Australia).
Perhaps the most well-known stone pile was erected after the Israelites crossed the Jordan River. After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites were finally prepared to enter the Promised Land.
While they were crossing, Joshua told the Israelites to pick up a stone from the riverbed. He then instructed them to place the stones in a pile on the bank of the river as an altar to our Lord to serve as a remembrance to future generations of God’s magnificent power and His sovereignty. In Joshua 4:6-7, Joshua says, “Someday, when your children ask you about these stones saying “What do these stones mean?” tell them, “This is where we crossed the Jordan on dry ground.”
For us, it was not realistic to think that we could leave stone piles throughout Australia and expect they'd still be there. Even if they did, would we ever go back? I thought about doing it in our backyard here in Orlando but wait...we don't have any rocks in Florida.
Instead, along with stories, we have printed every single photo (hundreds) from our life in Australia. It serves the same purpose, (maybe more so) of memorializing God's provision, miracles and goodness. We love going through a handful at a time and sharing the memories. This would never happen by keeping them all on the computer and with so many images, it's way too expensive to create a book on-line. So we just do it the old fashioned way with a box of loose photos.
As you reflect on your walk with the Lord, are there “stone piles” that you would like to set up to remind yourself, your children and your grandchildren of God’s presence and the significant events that have taken place in your life? If not, then what will you use to remind yourself? Share with us your ideas.