Once the COVID-19 pandemic struck, more and more people began walking the winding cement trail that hugs the network of canals in our part of the desert. Riding bikes, pushing strollers, jogging—entire families, couples, lone walkers listening to podcasts or music—my husband and I spotted neighbors and plenty of new faces.
Then we started noticing something else: colorful, painted rocks that appeared seemingly out of nowhere with quirky, whimsical messages. Who was painting these stony eye-catchers? And why were they doing it?
“Patience.” “Thank you, essential workers.” “Stay safe.” “Be kind.” For days as we walked along the path more and more rocks cropped up. It was amazing to see the creativity employed.
The little rocks bearing messages all seemed so … pleasant. Innocuous really. But something niggled at the back of my mind. These small stones were nice, weren’t they? And yet they were devoid of any expression of faith or truth.
So of course, I Googled it. Turns out there are lots of really amazing people out there using their artistic abilities to spread faith in Jesus with these little painted rocks. And, there are entire Facebook groups devoted to rock painting with hundreds of posts a day. It’s somewhat of a pandemic-inspired urban phenomenon that has swept the country.
Naturally, I headed over to Hobby Lobby. I mean, if you’re going to buy paints and brushes, why not do so at a retailer that has proven itself to be such a courageous Christian ally? Not only did they have the aforementioned supplies, they had a rock-painting kit for 50 percent off. OK, it was the last one in stock and it looked as if someone had already opened it, but still.
“You paid for rocks?” my developing-country-born spouse asked me. “Only in America,” he smirked.
“Yeah, but I also got 10 paint colors plus a brush and transfer stickers,” I retorted. “And I can’t really steal rocks from the greenbelt and then use them to spread the Gospel, can I?”
A valid point.
My negligible artistic “abilities” notwithstanding, I turned out a few stony messages of my own during the next couple of days (and I’ve got the paint-spattered hands to prove it.) It was kinda fun really. It also served as a not-so-subtle reminder that I’m definitely not the artsy type and should stick with being a wordsmith. My beloved and I are going to leave a few more Jesus-themed stones on the trail this afternoon during our walk.
These little creations of mine can hardly compare with some of the really elaborately painted rocks on the trail, but there’s a part of me that hopes someone will see one of them and realize how much God loves them and is there for them.
Is it the guy who just lost his job and is wondering how he’ll make the mortgage this month? Is it a young woman who just found out she’s pregnant and is considering abortion? Is it the group of teenagers experimenting with drugs? Is it that person who just told God, “I’m not sure You’re really there, but if you are, please show me!”
The point is, the Good News is too good to keep to ourselves. Don’t you want everyone to discover the joy of knowing the Lord and the freedom that comes when you surrender EVERYTHING to Christ?
Well then. Go find a rock and start painting.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know everything. You know our hearts. We want so much to honor You and serve You and witness to Your love. Empower us to boldly share Your truth and Your message of hope today. Help us to take every opportunity to love those we encounter along the path of our life and share the Good News that You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen.