One way to preserve hope is to establish markers of God’s presence. This custom dates to Genesis with Abraham constructing altars for worship as he moved his tents to each new region. These holy sites symbolized God’s favor and nearness for his people.
Abraham’s son continued the tradition. In Beersheba, the Lord appeared to Isaac. “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham” (Genesis 26:24 NIV).
Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, also established a physical monument to record a spiritual encounter. God told Jacob to relocate his family, and Jacob directed his household, “Let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone” (Genesis 35:3 NIV).
Today, structures still commemorate communion with God. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is the “home of America’s oldest Christian parish,” according to the Florida State Library and Archives. The original building hosted mass September 8, 1565, for the Spaniard Pedro Menedez and his men.” This edifice stands today, despite raids and fire, after being rebuilt several times during the centuries.
In addition to churches, other signs record the past. Tim Fillmon, an independent contractor with the state of Florida, preserves history markers. He travels the entire state maintaining close to 2,000 monuments. “I love bringing history alive,” Fillmon said. “To bring something from destruction and make it look vibrant again is satisfying.”
Our heart is the most important location to track God’s presence with us. That is the sanctuary to to treasure knowledge of Him and how much He loves us. How can you share these timeless assurances with youngsters today?
Tim Fillmon restores historical markers in Florida. This one records an event in Palatka, FL, in 1774.
“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 22:19 NIV).
Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, Florida in 1993
Photo credits: Florida Memory, State of Florida Department of Division of Library and Information Services https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/8063#returnToImage and https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/131908