Wisdom Finds the Stones
I just knew God was going to surprise me. I even told Him this as I pulled into the parking place at the ocean. I had not been to the ocean for many months and was eager to see it before the summer ended; so, I decided to would take the better part of a day to go on a spiritual retreat—just God and me. This was the day, thanks to Sam who worked from our house in order to stay with his dad.
I pulled into the parking lot adjacent to a special beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea; special because it’s the beach where Wyndham and I spent many Mondays walking and talking with God and each other. I was hesitant to go to this beach because going to “our” places for the first time alone can be difficult. Though we can no longer walk together, God still walks with me. (He sits with Wyndham.)
No one else was on the beach. This may have been due to red algae continually riding waves to the shore. Thankfully, red algae could not hinder my communion with my God, so I got out of the car. As soon as my feet hit the sand I noticed a perfectly stacked pile of rocks gracing my path. This pile was placed as the centerpiece of the short beach. Stones of remembrance. That’s what I saw. I smiled, knowing they were there for me, a little hug from God.
Instead of sadness (which certainly happens), I felt joy. I looked at those stones (sans plaster) and remembered the times the Israelites were instructed to build stones of remembrance so that they would not forget the goodness of the Lord. I, too, remembered.
When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the LORD your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster.
Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. (Deut 27:2-3)
God and I walked, talked, and sang together, hand in hand. At least that’s how it felt. God’s Spirit is like that. God envelops us if we let Him. I sang two songs repeatedly (words changed to match the venue):
I come to the ocean alone. While the sun shines bright and the waves roll. And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And, He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.
My God and I walk on the beach together. We walk and talk, as good friends should and do. We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter. My God and I walk on the sandy shore.
My God and I will go for ‘aye together. We’ll walk and talk, as good friends should and do. This earth will pass, and with it common trifles. But God and I will go unendingly.
Each time I walked past those stones of remembrance I felt renewed gratitude for the ways God has blessed me. I told Him some of the things I deeply appreciate including the love I feel inside my soul, the purpose I feel for my life, the joy that refreshes my heart, the clear conscience that gives my mind peace, and hope, which springs from the confidence I will never die (physically, yes; but, my body is not me). I felt (feel) thankful for the physical and spiritual family God has given me.
I felt (feel) thankful for the ways Wyndham inspires me. While living in his incapacitated body, he still focuses on God’s goodness to Him. He sees stones of remembrance. Because of this, he stays grateful, cheerful, and courageous.
After some hours, I turned to go back to the car feeling full and refreshed (another thing God does for me). Then, I noticed to my right and to my left many more stacked stones…as if they had multiplied. The more I gave thanks, the more things that there were to remember.
Truthfully, nothing is more joy-filling, peace-inducing, and spirit-lifting than time alone with God. This comes from: remembering His mighty deeds (made known since the beginning of time); remembering the beauty of His creation: remembering that He is with me in the suffering, the trials, the waiting, and the unknown; and remembering He will not leave me. Truthfully, I already experience eternity, even now. Eternity has already begun because eternity starts with knowing God (Jn 17:3).
When my physical body one day no longer accompanies my soul, my truest self will be unencumbered, experiencing the unimaginable “wonderful” which God has prepared. Everything good is in God’s presence. That’s the beauty of heaven…relationships of love, beginning with Him, and lasting forever.
When we keep our focus on the unseen (everything in God’s kingdom), we are sure to find all kinds of beauty and encouraging surprises God has prepared for us. Stones of remembrance will multiply.