Bouquets and Stacked Stones
Life can at times be just down right challenging. In the opening chapter of the book entitled Culture Care, the author Makoto Fujimura tells the story of a season of pinching pennies for food and in the midst of the stress of planning for upcoming meals and stretching finances to do so, his wife enters with flowers. Incredulous that she would spend money on such a frivolous item in a time of family austerity, he becomes angry with his wife and expresses the challenge of feeding them to which she replies but we must also feed “our souls.”
In the biblical book of Joshua we see a part of the history of the Israelite people. They have wandered in wilderness for an entire generation waiting for God to deliver them into His promise for them. His promise was a verdant and fertile land to call their own. It has been a long, challenging, wearying road and in chapters 3 and 4 we see them cross the last physical barrier to their promise. The final physical barrier is a river, which God stops the flowing so that the entire nation can cross on dry ground. As they do so, Joshua commands them to pick up river stone and carry them to the other side to stack up. Now why would they take the time to pick up these stone while the river is being held back?
The reasoning for the stone and the bouquet is the same. God’s desire for His people is for us to be a people of hope and to be a people of hope we must see and remember. To be a people of hope, we must at times make intentional choices and yes even discipline ourselves to see beauty, victory, favor, blessing etc. for if we do not do so the austere times of stretching our finances, our energy, or our strength will hold our gaze until all we see is struggle and every bit of hope is wrung from our lives.
We must also remember. We must endeavor regularly to remind think of God’s provisions, victories, and blessings. We must tell stories of God’s faithfulness to one another. In doing so, we will learn that reminders of hope can press out worry, fear, and at times even sorrow.
Our hope is most full when it is shared. Whether we are seeing flowers or showing each other stones. Those who see, those who show, and those who stack, all will see their hope grow. And as it grows it will bring glory to the source of all hope.