If you’re Canadian, you probably know what an inukshuk is.
If you’re not Canadian, then let me offer you my condolences. (Sorry! Just kidding!)
But seriously, an inukshuk is a stone structure built by the Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic regions of North America. The stones may simply be stacked vertically, or they may take the form of a human figure.
The distinctive shape of the inukshuk is featured on the flag of Nunavut, a Canadian territory, and also served as the inspiration for the logo of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Inukshuks have been traditionally used by the Inuit people as landmarks for navigation, guideposts for travellers in a barren landscape. They might also mark out a sacred spot, or function as a commemorative sign.
I think we all need “inukshuks” in our lives, don’t we?
Reminders of the things God has done in our lives, how far He’s brought us. Beacons to others travelling the same journey, showing them the path that leads to life.
There’s certainly precedent in the Bible for laying stones as a memorial to God and the wonderful things He has done for His people.
Jacob erected a stone as a pillar in Bethel to commemorate the powerful vision of God he experienced in a dream there (Genesis 28:18). This memorial stone was a physical reminder of what God had done, and helped increase the faith of those who worshipped there in later generations.
Joshua and the Israelites erected 12 stones in Gilgal from the bed of the Jordan River as a memorial of how God miraculously stopped the river’s flow so His people could cross over on dry ground into the Promised Land. Joshua told the people that the stones were not just reminders for those who witnessed the miracle firsthand, but for their descendants. In the future, their children would ask what the stones signified: they were to tell them of the miracle and of God’s goodness to His people (Joshua 4:4-7).
After the Israelites achieved a military victory over the Philistines through God’s direct intervention, Samuel erected a memorial stone. He called it “Ebenezer,” meaning “stone of help,” commemorating the source of their victory (1 Samuel 7:12). This permanent reminder of the miracle would serve to renew the faith of those in future generations who faced similar challenges.
What are the landmark events of your life, the milestones that you’ve achieved with God’s help?
It might be a healing from a disease, finding a much-needed job or a much-needed friend when you really needed one, the restoration of a broken relationship, or financial provision. It might be an answered prayer or a touch of God’s goodness at just the right time.
How will you commemorate God’s blessings in your life? Is there a visual reminder or a literal object that could serve as a “memorial stone”?
Some people make a list of all the miracles or works of God they’ve experienced in their life. When feeling discouraged, they can take out the list and be reminded of all the times God has come through for them in the past. It gives them and their family hope for the future.
Maybe you have a framed degree which commemorates how God helped you achieve your education. Perhaps simply looking at the children you didn’t think you’d ever have reminds you of God’s goodness. Some people might keep an unusual object which reminds them of what God has brought them through, or a keepsake from when they first gave their lives to Christ.
Whatever your “inukshuk” is, make sure you leave behind a testimony so that your descendants hear about God’s lovingkindness to you. Establish some sort of monument to His mercy and goodness, so that your children can be told how far God has brought your family. Your testimony can serve as a beacon for others, to guide their way to the truth.
Jesus told the Pharisees that if His followers kept silent and didn’t praise God, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40).
Let’s build some “inukshuks” in our lives to testify to God’s grace, provision, blessing and goodness.
What will yours be?
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.