Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Proverbs 22:28
Can I just talk to you for a while? Will you allow me to paint pictures in your mind before they fade out of mine? Can I share with you the thoughts swirling in my head that I don’t quite know how to put into words?
Do you remember that place? That place where the light shines through the trees a little differently? The place where the air is lighter, and the atmosphere sets you at ease?
Have you ever been to a place where the noises that surround you are ducks and geese conversing about the weather, and the wind rustling the leaves? Where the loudest sound is the river babbling and running into another river, and running into the sea, and the laughter of children fills the air.
Have you seen the green hills as they fade into purple mountains that fade into grey heights that fade into the sky as their peaks pierce through the clouds and laugh at the rain falling below?
Do know the tree, the very old tree that stands by the river and offers shade for all who pass by? How he wishes to be heard, and to tell those who would listen the stories of the generations that have gone before, and their trials and triumphs. When night falls he stretches his arms toward the sky and points to the stars and The One that hung them and keeps them in place.
Do you remember a time when you took your cues from the rising and setting of the sun, and you own stomach, instead of the clock and the calendar? When the most important thing you had to do was watch a nine-year-old bond with a basset hound.
Have you taken the time to pull down from the shelf the book of an old friendship and dust it off? And have you marveled at the grace that has kept it bound throughout the years?
Do you know the feeling of sitting down to a card game with old friends, and having your sons join you for the first time? That’s what children are for after all; learning what we know and passing it on to their children. The important things, and the not-so-important things.
If you know that place, will you go there with me for just a moment? Will you stand on the mountaintops and bask in the goodness of God? Gather some stones and build a monument there on that mountain.
Go back in your mind to a time when The Lord Of Creation showed Himself to you, and conquered the enemy you faced.
The monuments in our lives show us where we’ve been, and what we’ve been through. They point to the old ways and what was good about them, and what needed to change. And they remind us of The One who pulled us through when hope seemed lost.
There are landmarks too, that show us where we’re going. They point out the path we should take so we don’t get lost. Because when it’s one mile south of the Big Chicken, you can’t miss it. And if it’s right next to Twins Stadium, everyone should know where it is. Even if they’re from out of town.
No matter how far we think we’ve come, or how successful the trip, we’ll always need the monuments and landmarks. Because there will always be bumps in the road, twists and turns along the way, and unexpected road blocks that stop us in our tracks.
And we never know when we’ll wake up one morning to discover another heartbroken wife, or another town devastated by tragic loss. In those moments we always wonder why, and we want to know what made them do it.
Whatever we reasons we find to explain it, at the root of it all, there is always someone who forgot the monuments, ignored the landmarks, and burned the bridges that connected them to their fellow man, and The God that formed them in their mother’s womb.
And when they were lost, they took directions from the one with the greasy smile and the bad intentions, and followed them to the wrong side of town.
When you find yourself lost on the wrong side of town, it’s so easy to stay there, and so hard to leave.
And when the bad days come, when the thing we were so hoping for doesn’t happen, we’ll need to look back on the times when we knew God’s hand was working. We’ll need the monuments to help us remember. To tell the story one more time of when the doctor looked at your husband and said “You should have died from this.”
Then you can find the peace that tells you that The God who hung the stars is still in control. And always was.
Remember the mountains, and the peace that was there on those hilltops, where the sunlight danced in the trees. And remember The Creator of those mountains, Whose presence is infinitely greater, and Who holds even the tiniest sparrow in the palm of his hand.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3