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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Planting a heart-shaped memorial stone...Part One

     I love the Old Testament picture of God’s people planting stones or building altars of remembrance. I picture Grandfathers gathering up children year after year as they settle in and snuggle. I see their eyes grow wide in amazement as the great and magnificent tales unfold.
      We all have stories. Stories of miracles and suffering. Stories of great and remembrance. I value them, because when life gets hard, and it does, I need to remember. 
     I have walked in, or closely beside, miscarriages, infant death, rare disease, heart attacks, brain surgeries, a young girl who got lost in a snowstorm and ended up in heaven. A family ripped apart and forever changed by suicide. 
     Life can break our hearts and bring deep pain, yet God’s word shouts of the promises and redemption that comes through Jesus on the cross. He is present in it all. Human suffering, however, is still a very real deal. Life can get ugly and hard.
     The Bible tells us it will be, but it is difficult to “count it all as joy”, and understand  “glory in suffering” when we feel as if we are drowning.  
     I struggle even now sharing a recent victory because I have close friends, people I love deeply still trapped chest high in raging waters.  But I know God’s living power brings encouragement.  It brings hope. It teaches faith.  
     It is in our trials that we need to sit with Jesus and let him read us our Memorial stone stories. In that place of his great love and sacrifice, we can reflect, remember, and praise.  Our stories give the strength to endure in faith for the hope of what is to come.   
      God doesn't talk with me the way He did with Moses, and I do not wake up with the miracle of the shimmery manna from heaven at my feet, but I have stories of memorial stones.  
     God speaks through his word, through the gospel of Jesus and through the Holy Spirit helper. God answers prayer. Lays words on our hearts. He heals. He imparts joy and He infuses hope. 
     I want to Rejoice in the things that have "not yet" come. I want to give Praise for the things "not yet" seen and "not yet" known because I have allowed the enemy to rob me. I let him talk me into taking my eyes off of God in hard places. I jumped into his band wagon instead of climbing into the lap of Jesus to hear my stories. 
     And now, because I don't ever want to give the enemy room in my heart to do that again, I plant a Memorial stone and have a story to tell.