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)


Washed Clean (Michindoh Post 19)

[This post is nineteenth of a series in which I reflect on spending a month at camp for Wyldlife (middle schoolers) and YoungLives (teen moms). You can follow by subscribing to this blog below. All posts are categorized as ‘Michindoh 2013’.]

How do you mark the week, the day, the moment that a heart turns towards home, bursting with joy at the promise of new life, new hope, new identity?

A thousand different ways.

Or perhaps just a single way.

Washed clean (Photo: CKirgiss)
Washed clean (Photo: CKirgiss)

By rubbing dirt between the palms of hands.

By placing dirty hands under gently poured water.

By listening to a strong yet quiet voice speak these words:

You have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ.

So that’s what we did this morning. Poured water over the brave and beautiful hands of teen mothers while faithful mentors held their babies nearby – and while angels danced and sang for joy.

What was lost is now found. What was blind now sees. What was stained is now clean.

All and only because of Jesus.

…you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (First Corinthians 6:11)

Young Lives camp is over. But the joy of New Life is just beginning.