I have this rock on my desk. It's not being used as a paperweight because my papers very seldom go flying around the room these days. So the rock is just sitting there doing nothing – like I do a lot of the time.
What makes this rock so special is where it came from – I picked it up on our vacation. Did you ever see that old 1953 movie, "The Long, Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz? If so, you'll probably remember the part where Lucy decided to collect a souvenir rock from each campground they visited on their honeymoon; only her "rocks” were actually enormous boulders – a detail that Desi didn't discover until he tried to maneuver the trailer up a steep, narrow mountain road.
Now normally I'm not the sort of person who would choose a rock to commemorate a visit. I tend to lean more toward t-shirts and coffee mugs. Nevertheless, when you hear where I was, you'll understand why a rock was not only the most logical option for a memento – it was the only option.
A couple of months ago my husband and I took a trip to the Holy Lands, and on our last day we journeyed to the Valley of Elah – the place where David faced down Goliath. What an incredible experience it was, standing in a quiet field surrounded by low mountain ranges on all sides, picturing the Israelites camped on one hill and the Philistines camped on another, with a 9-foot giant yelling taunts at Saul's forces from the valley in between.
So anyway, after we heard a vivid recounting of the story, our group leader sent us into the creek bed – the very same creek bed where David had picked up his five small stones – to pick up some small stones of our own.
The one I selected was smooth and round, and so absolutely perfect that I even took its picture in the ground before I picked it up, in order to have a record of its original habitat for posterity. (Just think: this very rock – my rock – was lying right there when the whole battle took place! Can you imagine what it heard and saw?)
Oddly enough, it didn't exactly pop right out like I expected it to. In fact I had to kind of chisel it out of the hard dirt with a stick because it was buried a little deeper than I originally thought. It was also bigger than I thought. A lot bigger. "Wow” I thought to myself. "Now this is a rock that could kill a giant!” I was so proud of my find, I could hardly wait to get back to the bus and show it off to my fellow travelers.
Imagine my surprise then, when I got this reaction from the men in the group: "Good grief!” my husband chortled. "Did you think you were arming a catapult?” Another man in the bunch said, "Honey, what you've got there is a cannonball. I don't think they had cannons back then.” A third guy added, "That thing certainly wouldn't fit in any slingshot I ever saw…” And on and on they went.
I was crestfallen. After all, I broke two fingernails prying this thing out of the ground. The least they could do was be impressed. Besides, what did I know about slingshots? I'm a girl. I mean, it's not like I routinely armed my Tiny Tears doll with weaponry. The only instruction I was given was to "pick up a small stone”. If there were all these rules about how big it could be and how much it was supposed to weigh, then somebody should have said so.
As it was, the only thing left for me to do was stubbornly stick to my guns – or in this case my rock – which meant carting the thing all the way home in my carryon luggage (did I mention it was kind of a big rock?) where it sits on my desk, not doing much of anything – like I do a lot of the time.
But I did learn a thing or two as a result of this experience. First, I learned that bigger is not always better. This is true of slingshot ammunition, and of life. Second, I learned that just as David used a small stone to demonstrate his faith in God, I can use my not-so-small stone to remind me daily that God is willing and able to conquer my giants too.