A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Rock Pile

November 25th, 2008

Poke around the shady groves of farms in the Midwest and you’ll find them. Tucked behind the barn or under a tree, monuments to decades of hard work and sweat. Added to and rarely subtracted from.

Rock piles.

Depending on the lay of the farmer’s land, before planting crops it’s sometimes necessary to harvest rock. The freezing of winter and the thawing of spring brings to the surface of the ground stones that were previously hidden. Some are hand-sized. An easy grab and pitch into a skid loader bucket or onto a flatbed trailer. Others require two hands, a knee bend and a strong back. And on rare occasion, one needs to be pulled out with a tractor and a log chain.

Say the phrase “pick rock” to any Iowa farm kid and they know exactly what you’re talking about.

The reason for picking rock is simple. Come harvest time you don’t want a field stone to go screaming through the internal gears of a John Deere combine that could be traded even up for one of your nicer homes in Scottsdale, Edina, or Lake Forest. So to avoid costly down time and expensive repairs, you walk the field and move the rock to an out of the way place.

My Uncle Ev and Aunt Katherine had a rock pile on their farm. We kids called it “The Mountain”. We played regularly on it. It seemed so big. Go back there now and it’s still there, a memorial to a literal century of hard work and successful farming. When we look at it, we remember.

Joshua 4 is one of my favorite accounts in the Bible. It’s where God rolls back the waters of the Jordan River to allow the people of Israel to walk across on dry ground. God instructs them to build a monument of 12 stones to mark the event. He had a specific reason. “…in the future, when your children ask you, “What do these stones mean?” tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” –(Joshua 4:6-7)

God knows that His humans have short memories. That’s why He wanted them to set up the 12 stones as a reminder of the miracle He did. That rock pile was for remembering the great work He had done for them.

This Thanksgiving season as I count my blessings, it occurs to me that I’ve done a lot of worrying this year. A lot of asking God why He seems so slow to respond in certain areas of my life. And if I’m honest, no small amount of doubt and anxiety. Wondering sometimes silently and sometimes in full voice, “God, are you gonna take care of me?”

The irony, of course, is that I’ve done my worrying and doubting and whining while sitting squarely on top my rock pile. Those stones of good health, food to eat, a place to live, a car to drive, healthy children, opportunities to earn a living, friends old and new, wonderful parents, a church family, and multiple moments of God’s grace and mercy, dropped into my life at a point of need and always above and beyond what I could ask or imagine.

What audacity. To sit atop my rock pile of blessings, lifetime proof of God’s faithful provision, and wonder if He will come through for me this time?

Perhaps there is more symbolism to the stones than I realize. Could it possibly be God’s inside joke of what a blockhead I can be?

God, please forgive my arrogance of distrusting You while surrounded by your tangible blessings. This Thanksgiving help me to be mindful that You are forever faithful, my Source and my Provider. When I wonder, when I doubt, remind me to look at the rock pile that You’ve built in my life and renew my faith and trust, because You are faithful and true.

Here’s hoping you take a good long look at your rock pile.

Happy Thanksgiving.

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need He saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” – Psalm 116:5-7


Todd A. Thompson – www.ASliceOfLifeToGo.com