It encompasses some 624 acres. It is visited by U.S. presidents, foreign leaders, and common people. It is solemn, moving and yet beautiful at the same time. It is filled with famous people and those of whom you have never heard.
It is the United States' national cemetery at Arlington, VA. The cemetery is a living reminder of our nation's past. It is a testimony to bravery, sacrifice and dedication. The grave markers and memorial markers all tell a story. They cry out to us to pause and remember.
In Exodus 13 we have a call to pause and remember. It is a cause to take note of three very important things: God's blessings (vv1-16), God's protection (vv17-18), and God's direction (vv20-22).
When you're moving through life at warp speed it is easy to forget the many blessings of God in our lives. We get to the point where we expect God's blessings but often fail to acknowledge His blessings. A walk through Arlington cemetery reminds us of the blessings of freedom. If we take a moment to walk through our past we should see reminders of God's provision.
Although it isn't always visible, God is at work to protect us as well as bless us. We won't know until we get to heaven all the ways in which God safeguarded us in this life. Not only physical protection but also emotional and spiritual. Even if you have suffered pain in your life, and we all have, there are plenty of things from which God has shielded you.
At Arlington, more than 320,000 service men and women are buried. Many of them died while protecting our nation. That protection should never be taken for granted, and neither should the protection that God extends to us each day.
Finally, as God directed Israel in their wilderness days, so does God direct us now. No, He doesn't do it with a pillar of cloud or a pillar of fire, but through His Spirit and His word we are given direction.
At Arlington, there are many winding paths and it is a little confusing and overwhelming to the first time visitor. But with a map in hand and by paying careful attention to the small white direction signs scattered around, you can find where you want to go.
Sometimes in life the correct path is not always the obvious. But if we will slow down and seek God's direction through His Spirit and word, we will end up heading in the right direction.
It shouldn't take a cemetery visit to cause us to pause and reflect on all that God has done for us in the past, is doing in the present, and will do in the future.
Frank Banfill is an author, international speaker, and leadership developer. Please forward this blog to your family & friends. Not a subscriber? Sign up now at www.FranksBibleBlog.com.