History wasn’t my favorite subject in school, but some elements of it have intrigued me for most of my life. The Jewish culture and all that God’s first, chosen people endured throughout history fascinated me. As a child, I was an avid reader and true stories like The Diary of Anne Frank and The Hiding Place, pulled me completely into the world they lived in as soon as I turned the first page.
Sad movies based on real people, places and times before were difficult for me to watch because I knew real people endured those horrible things. That was the case of Shindler’s List. I knew it would rock me deep into my soul, so I waited until I felt I was ready to see it. Three years after the movie premiered, I watched a commercial-free version of it on television. And I carry some of those scenes with me even today.
The final scene takes place at the grave of Oskar Schindler. The amazing part is the custom the Jews have of placing stones on the grave—not flowers as I would have assumed. Even today you can Google “Oskar Schindler’s grave” and view pictures of his memorial stone with small stones of all shapes and sizes placed respectfully one on top of the other.
It seems that each stone placed is a promise made by the one who left it to remember something significant. No words—just pebbles—memory stones. Each memory is respectfully placed at the discretion of each visitor. Perhaps they are thanking God for one man’s courage to stand up when it seemed no one else could. Maybe they owe their very lives to him because without him they would never have been born. Others may hope they have enough boldness for what they believe in when their time comes to stand.
I’d like to think that my faith grows with each obstacle I’ve faced. And each time a new challenge to my faith taunts me to doubt God and his faithfulness, I can pull a memory stone from my past to remind me God was there for me then, and He will help me make it through whatever crisis standing in my way in this moment.
God has done some amazing and very miraculous acts in my life. Joshua 4:6-7 says, When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them…. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever,” (NIV)
I am sure you can think of times in your life that would serve as a reminder of God at work in your life. I encourage you to take memory stones from your own life and use them with the help of the Holy Spirit to develop your faith, build your family and shape your future.
Feel free to share a precious, memory stone in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories.