Throughout Scripture it was a common practice to lay down some stones and build an altar at a place where God had met His people and worked in power. Then when children, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren would pass that place and ask, “Why are these stones here? What is this altar for?” – they could be reminded of the story of God’s faithfulness to His people in that location.
Our lives should really be no different. Whether small encounters with God or big miraculous encounters, every encounter is worthy of a memorial. Every opportunity we have to say, “This is where God met me and this is what He did” helps us in our faith journey tell the grand story of Scripture – that God is a loving God, in continual pursuit of His people, constantly working on their behalf to help them turn from their sin and self and turn to trust in Him. This is His Story and when it intersects with our story – we lay down stones. We do this to (1) help us remember and (2) so we have a story to pass on to the next generation about the faithfulness of God.
Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!” – 1 Samuel 7:12
In this journey we are on, we are continually laying down these stones. And since Cole is so young and likely won’t remember in vivid detail, we lay down stones for him, so that as he grows we can continue to say, “See those stones, that’s where God met you – where He was faithful to you – and why He is worthy of giving your life to in worship.”
I just returned from our high school camp. Our Wildwood students joined nearly 350 other students and God most certainly met us in those mountains of Tennessee. He changed hearts and lives – calling some to Him for the very first time. He healed hearts and mended relationships. He challenged and equipped. He restored and made whole. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve at camp. Seeing teenagers give their hearts and lives to Jesus and become transformed by power of the Gospel never gets old! So we laid down some stones… so we can remember.
I can’t say how grateful I am to my wife and her parents for allowing me and my two big boys to be away for camp. But it was hard to be away. I often felt that my head was at camp, but my heart was not. Coming home to the rest of our family was a great reunion! Cole continued putting his big “X” on his countdown calendar, but he started counting down the days till Jake came home instead of when his cast would come off.
God has been so faithful in this healing process. Cole is on an as needed basis for his pain medication. Although, the nights are still long and hard, he really is doing amazingly well. He has been able to come to grips with his cast and how to deal with it. He’s become much more ‘mobile’ despite still being limited by his spica cast. He’s usually excited to get into the wheelchair and get out of the bed. Or in the bed, he’s figured out how to turn on his side or flip onto his stomach all by himself. Exciting and dangerous all at once… this is our Cole.
I made it just in time to load Cole up and head down to the hospital for his appointment. He was such a brave guy going in. They took an x-ray which allowed us to see his plate and screws for the first time. He’ll be setting off metal detectors for a few years! The doctor was pleased with how everything looked on the inside. On the outside, the sound of a saw didn’t bring fear, but smiles and laughter. I guess he enjoyed the vibrations and seeing smoke and dust fly off his leg! They cut out a window to gain access to the outer incision. Probably the worst part of the process was having the tape ripped off that was serving as a covering for his incisions. After the tears stopped, his sutures were removed – not totally pain free (especially his groin incision) but Cole did great. And they are healing well. The window was closed, so now he’s back to full armor plating.
Unfortunately these x-rays didn’t give us the big date to put on the calendar. We will have to wait for our next x-ray which will be about 2 weeks (one month from the date of surgery). At that time we will find out when we are returning to have the cast removed and start the next stage of healing and rehabilitation. But accomplishing this first milestone of having stitches removed and a follow-up meant leaving some stones in that office.
So looking back, we remember that we’ve left some stones at Children’s Hospital here in Birmingham. And we will leave some here at Nana and Papa’s house as we make the trek back to Tallahassee. And I’m quite certain we will have more stones to lay down and build more altars of remembrance where God was faithful to our family in this journey. And one day we will have quite a story to tell. And these stones will remind us that our story isn’t complete without telling God’s story – the story of a faithful God who loves His children.