Its beauty will justify the effort

Soaring 700 feet above the forest floor is a granite dome two miles long and a mile wide. Stone Mountain, 16 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia, was the ideal site for a memorial to General Robert E. Lee.

In 1915 the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) obtained a deed from the owners of the mountain, accepting their proviso that the work be completed by 1928. They hired sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who began cutting in 1923. After a dispute with the sponsors, Borglum abandoned the project to work on Mount Rushmore. Although another sculptor, Augustus Lukeman, resumed the task in 1925, he was unable to finish by the 1928 deadline, and the original owners reclaimed the mountain, abruptly stopping the project.

Only in 1958 did the Georgia state legislature create a memorial association to buy the mountain. Sculptor Walter Kirtland Hancock resumed the work in 1963, completing it in 1970. Hancock's epic sculpture depicts General Robert E. Lee, Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall" Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, all riding majestic horses. The figures are so colossal that at the dedication 30 men were able to stand on Lee's shoulder.

God wanted the likeness of His Son to be spectacular and to remain beyond the day when the figures on Stone Mountain will have eroded to a pile of gravel. His design was conceived in eternity and initiated at Calvary, but to this day the carving continues in your heart and mine (Rom. 8:28-30). The project will be completed if we do not call a halt to it (1 John 3:1-3). What a tragedy it would be, what a waste of centuries of sacrifice and effort, if the divine Sculptor had to abandon His work!

Just after visiting Stone Mountain, I found myself viewing it again from the air, because the site is below a holding pattern for the Atlanta airport. The beauty of the final sculpture more than justifies the years of struggle and toil required to complete it. So will ours.

—Steve Singleton