Have you gotten stoned lately?
Running from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Israelites listened to a command God gave them. As they crossed the Jordan River they paused and erected a stone monument: a remembrance of all that God had done to save them from their Egyptian captors. Stones. Simple stones. Touch stones. Something solid and concrete that we can look at and remember.
There are a lot of “touch stones” in my life: places and things that remind me of where I have been on this crazy journey through the kingdom. We all have these stones in our lives. When you follow the impulse to return to your childhood home to “see if it has changed” you are looking at a touch stone. Friends found on Facebook can be touchstones: “Wow…I remember my life back then. I’ve changed so much. Life has changed so much.” Old clothing, stashed in the back of our overstuffed closets, become touch stones. “I wore that once. I was young, and thin, and life was all ahead of me.” We save mementos as touch stones, too. Bulletins from a brother’s funeral service (“I never thought God would pull us through. He did.”), flowers from a love, cards.
But to me, places are the touch stones of life.
Yesterday, driving to Atlanta, David and I passed a few stone memorials in our lives. We remembered other trips here, other people in the car with us. The most comforting of “stones” remind us that our life runs in an orderly flow, directed through the ins and outs by our God who loves us so much.
I know you might think this is a stretch of the touch stone, memorial stone concept, but I promise you this is how God spoke to me yesterday. He spoke through those old green umbrellas again. Sitting in a hilltop Starbucks three quarters of the way from Florida to our Atlanta destination my mind drifted back to my last visit to that spot. It was a stressful time in our lives, and I remember drooping with the weight of it all as we sat and had our last cup of coffee before Atlanta. That former cup of coffee was my comfort, the only sanity in a very long day. But yesterday, sitting in the same spot, I was rejoicing at the beauty of the day. I rejoiced over the way God worked in that old situation, how he carried it through almost to completion, how the burden was gone off my shoulders. I wanted to cry as I realized that God had used that overwhelming trial to shape me and prod me in new directions. Those green umbrellas were my 12 stones piled one upon the other, prompting a look back at the river that didn’t drown me.
Yet one more reason I love this caffeinated life.