Rob Upton’s bench has become a crossroad in my life.
I never met Rob Upton. He was 10 years older than me, and died when I was 12. We lived in different states thousands of miles from each other, went to different schools, and until about 5 minutes ago when I googled his name followed by the year he died, I didn’t even know how he died. It’s unlikely that we would have any connection whatsoever.
But every other year (give or take), I meet God on Rob Upton’s bench.
I was too busy to notice his name emblazoned on the plaque at my feet when I first sat down 6 years ago. I was wrestling with God. With tears streaming down my face I told God I’d break up with the girl I thought I was supposed to marry, if only he’d lead me. I’d do whatever God wanted me to do.
Two years later, I was a single man who had just been shot down by yet another girl when I walked out across the lawn to meet with God on Rob’s bench. I again cried out to the Lord, asking only that he would lead me. I’d do whatever He wanted me to do. In the cool night air, I begged God for a wife.
Four years later, (25 minutes ago) I put my minivan in park, and walked out across the same dew-covered lawn. I celebrated (again with tears) that God had, just days after I prayed four years ago, introduced me to Jacqueline Brooks, and began writing the love story of our life together.
Rob Upton, a sophomore thrower on the Colorado State University’s track team, died in a climbing accident in 1992, and the university paid tribute to him by putting up a stone bench in a wooded area of campus.
Our staff conference is here every other year, and each time I am amazed to sit down on Rob’s bench and reflect on how the Lord has changed things since I last visited. Here’s to a God who is so interested in planning out all of our crossroads!