Rattleback Stones

August 29, 2010
by Julie Klassen

One year, for my granddaughter's birthday, we included in her gifts a couple of Rattleback stones. They are quite fascinating.

They were first found in many of the Egyptian tombs and were believed to have come from the Nile River. In appearance, they are long and narrow, flat on top, and curved underneath — like a cucumber pickle cut in half lengthwise.

If any movement rocks the Rattleback stone, it begins to spin counter-clockwise, and once given a spin, it just keeps on spinning.

The Rattleback stone is known for this very unusual characteristic: if the stone is spun clockwise, it begins to wobble, then stops, and begins to spin in the opposite direction — its default, counter-clockwise!

It remained a mystery as to why the stone did this until 1986 when G.T. Walker discovered the secret. A very simplified explanation is that the curved sides of the stone are not even; one side has a slightly longer curve than the other.

God has placed so many "pictures" in His creation that can be used for spiritual object lessons. In thinking about the Rattleback stone, I realized that, indeed, it has something to teach us.

We are all like a Rattleback stone.

Isaiah 53:6a – All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned (spun), every one, to his own way. (NKJV)

Our human flesh has a natural curve to it that turns us away from God, making us spin counter-God-wise.

But when we become believers, the Spirit of God works in our lives, reshaping us so that we can spin in a God-direction.

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (curve). (NKJV)

As long as we obey this command, we stay centered on Christ, and our sinful curve has no rule over us.

But it does not take much — one fault, one weakness that we nurture and are reluctant to give up — to upset the curve of our balance, and make us wobble, stop, and begin to spin in the direction of the old sinful self — counter-God-wise. Just like the Rattleback stone, we find it easy to follow our natural inclinations. We spin effortlessly when we seek to gratify our selfish desires.

It is only when we remain vigilant, when we trust in the power of the Spirit living within us, that we have victory in our Christian walk and find the strength to spin contrary to our natural curve.

Romans 8:13b-14 – If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God! (NKJV)

Prayer: Dear Father, help us to resist the things that cause us to wobble and turn away from You. May we allow Your indwelling Holy Spirit to reshape us into the image of Your Son, so that our lives will spin in Your direction. Amen.

About the author:

Julie Klassen <juliefrompearls@gmail.com>
Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

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