David used a stone. Jesus’ first miracle involved stone. Here’s a story, an analogy, of a singular stone that falls from a cliff near the battlefield of Goliath. Written by Ryan Gilpin, it takes the reader through the seven stages of destiny…
1. Set Free from the Cliff Face
2. Resting in the Power of Grace
3. Shaped by the Torrents of Change
4. Chosen by the Hand of a Warrior
5. Placed in the Pouch of Promise
6. Loaded in the Sling of Destiny
7. Shot in the Certainty of Success
WHICH STAGE ARE YOU AT?
Duration: 7 minutes
I AM A STONE
I am a stone. A small and seemingly insignificant, unassuming stone. I lived in a stream at the side of a battlefield, but now I am in the sling of a shepherd, about to be released to slay the greatest giant in the land – Goliath.
I have not always lived in the stream. My life started on the side of a vertical, treacherous cliff – a cliff whose shadow had always influenced the battlefield, hindering the sunlight from drying out its swampy terrain. I had spent many years resisting, but alas, the day came when gravity took its toll and I tumbled rapidly down the sheer cliff walls. I braced myself for the moment I would hit rock bottom and subsequently smash into pieces. I was perplexed however, when I found myself intact, saved by a stream; a stream that, apparently, had always meandered below the cliff waiting to catch rocks such as me. I did not know this stream existed but I felt some comfort when I saw rocks that I used to know lying in the stream either side of me.
I was intrigued as I studied the appearance of these rocks I once knew. ‘How did they get so round?’ I asked myself. I had never seen a rounded rock before – what they call, ‘a stone’. If I was now a stone, then I was an ugly one. I had sharp, protruding edges and angular features which set me apart from most of the other stones. It made me wonder how and if I could ever become that round and that beautiful.
The stream was a calm place at first. The gentle ebb and flow of the water combined with the soothing sound of the stream as it passed over the bedrock gave me time to be thankful and to be at peace. The other stones told me stories of rocks that didn’t make it into the stream and I was filled with joy that I had made it. I still did not know how the other stones had become so smooth, but it filled me with hope and expectancy that one day the same might happen to me.
Savouring the serenity and tranquility of the water, I began to move downstream and I felt momentum begin to build. I could see the other stones bracing themselves confidently and I became excited for what was to come. As the pace of the stream picked up things became more turbulent. The tranquil water soon became a raging torrent, causing much terror amongst the many stones that looked like me. Some began to bump in to each other; others were bashed against the bedrock and the banks of the stream as the force of the water overtook us. I began to resent the stream. I felt tricked and fooled to think that the stream was simply a serene and peaceful place to be. The days of being part of the cliff face seemed ever so attractive compared to the calamity and apparent destruction that the surging water had caused.
Once the water had subsided, I looked around to see other stones that had once looked as ugly as me. To my amazement, each of them, although still angular, were completely smooth. I could not believe it. I had been made smooth too! I noted that it was both the power of the water and the force of resistance that had done it. Slowly, I learned not to resent the raging water when the rapids came because I was gradually becoming more beautiful just like the other stones.
I could see the battlefield from my stream. I took time to gaze upon the expensive, polished swords, forged out of iron ore, being used to fight the enemy. I wondered what it must be like for iron to be used in such a powerful way. I knew for sure a small, insignificant and unassuming stone like me would never be used to do something so great – or so I thought.
Suddenly I felt something – someone had taken hold of me. Someone had captured me. It was the shepherd boy. I did not know why I had been yanked out of the stream, yet there was something kind and gentle about him. I began to remember seeing him walk the length of the battlefield; how he used to look up at the cliffs and the mountains, gazing upon them thoughtfully and prayerfully. From the way the shepherd was looking at me, it seemed as though he knew everything about me. It also seemed as though he knew exactly what he was going to do with me. It was as if the shepherd was trained and skilled at handling smooth stones – because of that I was happy to go with him.
I was placed into the shepherd’s bag. I felt confident he wanted to use me and, although I was now in darkness and obscurity, I knew the shepherd had not forgotten about me. I knew he would bring me out when he was ready. Sure enough, I soon felt his hand clasping me as he lifted me out of his leathery bag and brought me into the open. I could see a huge giant towering over me. I looked around for a sharp iron sword, something powerful that could defeat the giant, but to my surprise I did not see one. I kept questioning ‘Why me?’ I was just a small stone from the stream now in the hands of a shepherd standing before a giant. He placed me in his sling with such a force I felt myself spinning across his body. It was now obvious why I was chosen – to fulfill destiny.
I could not believe anyone would even consider using such a small, insignificant and unassuming stone like me to slay a brute called Goliath. I was finally able to look into to the shepherd’s eyes as if to ask what would happen to me when he released me – would I really succeed in slaying the giant? All he said back was this short and simple sentence- ‘You can read it in the history books later.’