What will your white stone say?

This is a coffee table. Not something I’d want in my living room, but I love it because it reminds me of Revelation 2:17, a verse that touches my heart:

Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

A secret name? I can’t wait to hear what mine is. I have a few guesses, but who knows what my God of Good Surprise has in store. This promise not only energizes me to persevere through tough times towards a “victorious” end, but it also reminds me that God and I have a unique, intimate relationship — He loves me and speaks to me in a way that is completely personalized. He knows me fully, down to the core of my core, and He calls me Dear. I believe there is one true God who is capable of many forms of communication (and who has many children with all sorts of crazy personalities), which means that each of our connections with the Divine likely looks a bit different. Perhaps that’s one reason we won’t be able to understand the new names on each other’s precious stones.

Last week Rachel Held Evans blogged about the “sanctity of secrets in a public world,” reflecting on how often Jesus praises secrecy in the Gospels. (Quite often, she found.) She eloquently writes,

As a girl who makes her living (and finds so much joy in) sharing her questions, ideas, insights, and experiences online and in books, the value that Jesus places on secrecy can be a bit disconcerting. All writers struggle with this, I think, but with our access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and You Tube, it’s easier than ever before to slip into the assumption that unless something is shared, it didn’t really happen, it didn’t really matter. 

I know for some, the only solution is to abandon the online world entirely and keep out of the public eye. But as I’ve been thinking about how to apply these teachings to my own life, I’ve realized that perhaps the trick to reclaiming the value of secrecy is not so much to share less, but to keep more—to pay more attention, to hide more in our hearts.

To name something a secret, and then honor it as such, is something of a sacrament, a holy moment set apart as sacred. Perhaps to stay truly human in this digital world, we need to reclaim that sacrament, to get better at naming and keeping our secrets. 

Rachel then offers practical ways to keep some of our everyday thoughts and experiences tucked privately in our hearts, strengthening the intimacy with God that each and every one of us crave. It’s a short but very poignant list. (Come on, you know you want to click.)

Secrets are so very special, and I love that there’s an incredibly meaningful one waiting for us at the end of the road. I suspect I’ll cry when I finally learn my secret new name. And I suspect Jesus will catch my tears as they fall.

What will your white stone say?