The ground beneath me shook back and forth. It wasn’t an earthquake, though. I was five and had thrown a rock at a sleeping German shepherd and thereafter become an after-nap snack. Actually, the ground wasn’t moving at all. I perceived the motion because of the violent shaking of the dog’s head with my arm in his mouth before an older boy was able to force the dog away from me with a pitchfork. The scar reminds me of that sunny day on that porch in Keller, Texas. I can still see the brown, skinny weeds and define the edges of the blades in the pause just before he swung me the other direction.
Some scars are invisible, though, no less valuable as a teacher. They are experiences God can use to help us avoid some of the traps the enemy intends for us in the future. I know that if you throw a rock at a snoozing carnivore, the consequences can be – let’s say – unpleasant at best. God never designs the catastrophes in life. He masterfully works a win into it if we are tuned into Him and our ears are open.
I could go back to Keller. I could construct a monument commemorating the event, and when I meet new people I could take them there and tell them about my past. I could even live right beside the monument and maybe people would buy a ticket to see a dramatic reenactment of the whole event. People have been building monuments for centuries. Some cities, like Washington, D.C., are built around them.
Jacob named the place where he wrestled with the angel of God Bethel. Later, God’s temple would be built there. Instead of staying there, though, Jacob left to meet his destiny. If he hadn’t, the twelve tribes of Israel would have had to come out of someone else. Instead of seeing a monument as a place to inhabit, we should build them, if God so leads, but move forward along the path of life. It should be a reminder of the past that exists in the present, and should point to a lesson for the generations to come.
Some parts of your history propel you, but some serve as a weight or an anchor. Some of the positive steps you can take to remove barriers and demolish walls begin with a thankful heart to God for the things He has brought you through. Praise Him because of who He is and what He has done. In a short moment, in a bit of obedient focus on Him, you will find a place of worship for your King.
Close your eyes and push the trivialities of the day away. You might feel His gentle breath on your cheek. His warm voice softly moves you past the outer court, and into the holy place. The altar of God is found is there. Time is of no consequence. Your knees will bend and your hands may fall limp to your side. With a humble head bowed, His voice should be easier to hear. Tears may come. The able Captain of your mind and soul is about to navigate through the storms of your past, and you will realize how lowly and meager you are compared to Him. He is the Majestic One. The gloriously bright Morningstar fills every cell of your body. His Blood cries to you of a love so amazing, so precious. Your spirit will turn to intense prayer, and a glimpse of His longing heart for man begins to be revealed. God is digging out the root of something for you or someone else. After this, you will never be the same. Like Jacob, you will limp from this place. You have a new name – an eternal scar. Your latter will be greater than your past, and you will be blessed to be a blessing. Hey, you didn’t think it was all about you, did you?
So, here’s the riddle:
Alone, I can kill; but when I am with others like me, I can point you onward, or draw your eyes upward, depending upon my proximity to others. I am just like you. What am I?