Stones, rocks and pebbles speak to me. They always have. I had collections of rocks and pebbles that adorned my shelves where other people would place a souvenir or ornament. I read about the significance of Joshua’s altar on the banks of the Jordan with river stones from the middle of the river that looked and felt different from the banks stones. My eyes were opened. The stones from the river built an altar to commemorate life-changing moments with God and the small white pebbles with a new name that were promised to the church in Revelation (2:17) to carry the mighty name of Jesus with you always. “Our” pebbles on this blog are the testimonies of miracles that accompany us in the knapsack of life, carried in our hearts. [Pebbles 45]
Pebbles of Perpetuity – stones with everlasting value. David called God his Rock – many times. He took cover behind rocks in the wilderness. He hid inside rocks (caves) in times of trouble and persecution from Saul. One of the five pebbles he picked up that day in the Valley of Ela, killed the giant, Goliath. The outcome of the stalemate between Israel and the Philistines was triumphantly broken by one prophecy-infused pebble. Power-pebbles in the hands of believing Kingdom-warriors will slay our giants, just like that day three thousand years ago.
I was little when I heard of pebbles for the footpaths. Erosion is the enemy. Small paths become conduits for stormwater, developing into troughs and ditches, depriving the fields of much needed water. My brother was the farmer. The official from the Department of Soil Preservation was visiting, walking around and measuring contour lines for new arable land. He talked much and used both his arms to point in all the directions to explain the lay of the land. Fill the footpaths with pebbles from the streams, he said Nature is amazing. You can help to heal the scars of human use in two seasons. The wind will “plant” the grass seeds, the rain will help them germinate and the stones will keep them in place. I was under ten years old and fascinated by his words. He sat in the farmhouse with a large cup of coffee and an even larger piece of home-baking.
Many years later I had to help with a reading programme in the Elementary School. I heard of dyslexia and spelling problems. My one friend was so exasperated by her children’s lack of skills that she trained as a therapist, and home-schooled all four her kids right through to Grade 12. I have to exercise their brains to make new paths when they see letters, she explained. Repetition and other techniques help hundreds of children to read and write – basic skills for life. To this day I admire her determination and success.
These days I see many people caught in fear and depression. They struggle to think differently. Fear carved a footpath in their mind to become a gulley for the stormwater of bad news and the overwhelming daily disasters world-wide, rushing through their minds by way of smart phones and social media. They can only see the worst case scenario, fuelled by pessimism and hopelessness. The gorge of fear in their mind feeds on gloom and doom. Hope and faith are washed away in wrong thinking and negative thoughts.
We need stones – river-stones and pebbles – to fight fear with faith. Our own Pebbles of Perpetuity are the many miracles with which God blessed our lives so far. Count them, one by one, when life-storms hit hard and know that we can cling to hope and faith because the One who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). The Word of God will wash you (Ephesians 5:26) and encourage you (Hebrews 13:5-7).
I don’t know if we were meant to know everything. We are gobsmacked by our screens full of catastrophes and calamities all over the world. Climate change, the pandemic and repressive governments are issues around us, dumped on young children in a way that make them feel responsible for the future – their future. They do not have the knowledge or ability to handle the concerns and most of them do not know the Prince of Peace for whom the nations are the “small dust on the scale” (Isaiah 40:15).
Read Psalm 37:1-5 for start. Do not fear, says the Bible over and over again. Trust in God, the Almighty, Maker of all things. He is the Source of love and goodness.
Turn the pages of your Bible. God will lead you. Read about David in life-threatening danger from which God rescued him time and again. He was hunted by Saul with everything the king had at his disposal. In the end David lived and Saul died. God’s Word is power, energy to heal and deliver you. God’s Plan is the ultimate life of excellence. Read my life-song – Isaiah 55.
Bring the stones into the footpaths of fear in your mind – river-stones from the flooding Jordan that dried up for your benefit. (Joshua 4)