by Pr Mike Thompson
The 4th chapter of Joshua tells of when God parted the waters of Jordan for Israel to pass over into the Promised Land. Following this, God commanded that twelve stones from the riverbed be piled together as a memorial to His miraculous guidance. It is good for us also to leave memorials along the path of life’s journey; memorials to look back upon in remembrance of God’s watch care and leading.
I will never forget the day that my heart burned within me as I viewed again one such rock pile.
The event took place a few years ago while visiting my dad in England. While meandering down one of York’s medieval streets we stopped a moment to discuss something. Looking behind me I suddenly realized I was standing right outside a former hardware store where I had worked 35 years before. A rush of memories and emotions flooded my mind and heart. They took me back to the days when I was 20 and chasing the dream of stardom in a rock band. The hardware store was just a day job until our band made the “big time.” But it was the narrow wooden door, close to the main door that really caught my attention.
Behind that narrow door, inside a narrow room, stood a symbolic rock pile to God’s leading in my life. It all took place one Monday morning as I was recycling cardboard boxes. I already had some sort of belief in God and read the magazine, Signs of the Times, every month. While learning about the second advent, I had no intention of getting too serious about religion. I figured it was somehow possible to believe while still seeking worldly fame and fortune.
But then it happened.
A very impressive thought about becoming a minister suddenly surged up into my consciousness. Not only that, but something else inside me responded as an answering cord, desiring to be in harmony with such a call.
I continued ripping up cardboard and eventually the impression faded and was gone. Life moved on and I still busied myself chasing the vain dreams of a starry eyed worldling. Eventually I became a fully surrendered and converted Christian. I walked away from the smoke-filled bars, dance halls, and singing in a rock band. God called me again to serve Him as a minister and it came to pass in His good time.
However, I will never forget standing outside my old work place where 35 years before God had first called me into His service. As powerful as that initial impression was, I didn’t realize it was the voice of God speaking to my heart. I thought it was my own mind engaging in a wild and impractical fantasy. Only later as I looked back did I recognize the guiding of His hand – directing my steps upward to His high calling while I was still a confirmed profligate. What a merciful God!
Standing outside that old narrow door with my dad, I thought quietly (though he never guessed) of the rock pile that lay within. A most profound memorial of God’s guidance in my life. It will always remain there. None can ever move or destroy it. Through His grace I became what He called me to be.
From that old Roman city that I still know so well I was destined to finish up in Sacramento, California. On that Monday morning of long ago I never dreamed of such a thing, yet it all came to pass. I praise God for that!
It has taught me the importance of never forgetting God’s providential leadings. We should never forget to raise those rock piles in memory’s hall and be inspired anew as we ponder our Father’s working in our lives. He who has faithfully guided us in the past will continue to do so as we trust, obey, and go forward at His bidding.
“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do into them and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)