Hearts of stone to hearts of flesh

I’m doing this thing with middle-schoolers in a few weeks that I need 300 writeable stones for. So I went to this mountain of maybe a million and prepared to pick 300.

Photo: CKirgiss
Piled stones (Photo: CKirgiss)

But how does a person possibly pick just 300 stones from maybe a million when the only criteria is that the stones have a writeable surface and when any shape, any color, and any size between a marble and egg will do?

As it turns out, not many stones have a writeable surface. Finding just 300 from a pile of maybe a million requires a fair amount of searching and seeking and finding and picking.

After about an hour, this is what I had:

Photo: CKirgiss
Chosen stones (Photo: CKirgiss)

300 writeable stones, sized between a marble and an egg, variously shaped, chosen straight from a mountain of maybe a million.

They are just exactly what I needed.

But look at them closely, those 300 writeable stones, sitting in the bottom of their bucket: could anything be more blah? More generic? More colorless? More uninteresting?

Or more beautifully breathtaking? You see, when washed from top to bottom, front to back, side to side, with a limitless stream of running water, this is what those 300 writeable stones look like:

Washed stones (Photo: CKirgiss)
Washed stones (Photo: CKirgiss)

Colorful. Vibrant. Bright. Bold. Beautiful.

What a miracle that colorless, uninteresting, dusty, dirty hearts like mine – and like my writeable stones – can be washed clean to expose all the brightly vibrant, boldly colorful, and eminently beautiful essence of the spirit within. (Of course, all that color disappears if the stones are left to dry up – if they forego or move away from the stream of Infinite Living Water.)

What an even greater miracle that hearts of stone can be changed to hearts of flesh – hearts that love and feel and hope and dream and ache and empathize and breathe and are.

I will write on my stones, just as God writes on my heart. But they will always and only be stones. Dead, hard, unfeeling stones. I have no more power to change them into flesh than I do to change my own heart into flesh.

But my powerlessness is the canvas upon which God paints my life in His colorful, vibrant, bright, bold, and beautiful strokes. Indeed. And amen.

The Sovereign Lord says: “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a heart of flesh – a tender, responsive heart. (from Ezekiel 36)