When my second daughter was about a year old she picked up a dirty little rock and gave it to her grandmother. Now my sweet mother-in-law is crafty and quite sentimental about her grandchildren so she bought a little frame, cut a piece of pretty paper for a background, added a bow and glued the rock in place and as far as I know she still has that little memento on a shelf or end table somewhere.
Our youngest daughter has also had a fascination with rocks for as long as I can remember. Big ones, small ones, clean ones, dirty ones…she completely lacks discrimination as to which ones are pretty or ugly. She used to bring these little treasures to me until I had a box full and over flowing. She’d find them in the yard, the neighbors yard, sidewalks and parking lots. If there was the tiniest of stones loose and able to be picked up she was going to be reaching for it.
I came across that box of rocks recently and it got me to thinking. Life is full of rocks. The Dragon lobbed a hefty stone at Eve and she promptly tossed it to Adam who tried to return the volley when confronted by God for walking around with it. Not long after that Adam’s son picked up a rock and used it to smash in his brother’s head and then dropped the blood covered stone aside with a nonchalant, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
And you and I? We stumble over rocks with words like fear, unforgiveness, selfishness, and bitterness carved into them. Sometimes we pick them up and carry them around, their weight a strange security that we take solace in because it’s a familiar anchor that requires little from us. We use them to build walls to hide behind that allow us to stay in our mediocre comfort zone. It becomes our burdensome excuse that gives us a free pass to not move from the shadows into light that is a little too bright sometimes.
Because if we set those rocks down and move into the Light then the Light is going to show the other rocks in our lives.
You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s the boulders fired off at us by a deliberately hurtful husband or thrown with unerring accuracy by a bitter angry wife. The smaller rocks that come from a thoughtless friend or coworker and the pebbles from complete strangers that cut us off in traffic or clearly have way more than 20 items in the speedy checkout line. These are the ones that we swiftly pick up and use as our own weapons. Their smooth bulk a justification for the war we’re fighting, for the temper tantrum we’re having.
Life is full of rocks and whether or not we pick them up or have them thrown at us there is something we’re supposed to do with them. We stack them. We take the missile fired off by the husband or wife and we put it on the pile. And we resist the urge to toss the ones back that came from the friend or neighbor and we add it to the pile. We empty the load of rocks we’ve been carrying around for years covered in the buzzwords that we’re told should be important to us like low self esteem, me time, fulfillment, and learn to love yourself and we dump them on the pile.
And then we climb on top of the pile. And we die there because underneath all our petty stones is the stone that was rejected, that became our Cornerstone. That pile is where death can lead to life and bondage falls away.
That pile of stones becomes the alter where we boldly proclaim that the hand of the Lord is mighty.
That He can overcome anything and everything. It’s where marriages are healed and relationships are restored. There, on that alter, we learn that we need to love our self less and Christ more. It’s where God triumphs over our past foolishness and dark hurts.
It’s where we learn that we ~ us, me and you ~ are the true stones; the living stones being formed and fashioned into a spiritual house for His name.