Over the summer we took a trip up to Albuquerque to see the Naturopath that helped us get pregnant with Emmy years ago. It was a strange experience, being back in that place. The first time we went we had a… “memorable” experience to say the least, something we still die laughing over today. This time, we sat in the parking lot for a minute when we arrived. My heart pounding, hands shaking as I turned off the engine. “We’re here again.” I thought, as disappointment filled my heart. The place that I only associated with infertility. Infertility, the place that I never wanted to be.
We walked inside, sat down, and reminisced together as we waited for our appointment. We smiled at the familiarities of the room, and pointed out the new additions to each other. After a few minutes of this, I realized how different this visit already was. We were laughing and peaceful; and the first time we sat in those seats we were full of fear and despair. I began to realize how far we’d come, how we’d seen God move this mountain before, and how much easier it was to believe that He could do it again. The peace in our souls was tangible and seemed to fill the space around us. Then I heard the Lord whisper to me, “Stack a stone.” I pondered this for a minute, and then we got called back to our appointment.
We went into the room with a different kind of confidence and relaxation. We laughed with the doctor, had so many questions answered, and a health plan made. We left with confidence and answers– which is more than you can hope for when walking this hard road. We went out for a splurge meal and talked through all the Doctor had said. “Could it really be this simple?” we asked ourselves.
Since that day, I’ve been thinking on stone stacking from the Bible. Multiple times throughout the old testament, people would stack stones in places where major events in their lives occurred. They would name the stacks after their significance, and leave the stones as markers for others to see as they passed by, so that the world could see and know that God had done something great for them. Let’s read this portion together:
Joshua started early the next morning and left the Acacia Grove[a] with all the Israelites. They went as far as the Jordan and stayed there before crossing. 2 After three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God carried by the Levitical priests, you must break camp and follow it. 4 But keep a distance of about 1,000 yards[b] between yourselves and the ark. Don’t go near it, so that you can see the way to go, for you haven’t traveled this way before.”[c]
5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, because the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow.” 6 Then he said to the priests, “Take the ark of the covenant and go on ahead of the people.” So they carried the ark of the covenant and went ahead of them.
7 The Lord spoke to Joshua: “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so they will know that I will be with you just as I was with Moses. 8 Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant: When you reach the edge of the waters,[d] stand in the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:1-8, emphasis mine)
4 So Joshua summoned the 12 men he had selected from the Israelites, one man for each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go across to the ark of the Lord your God in the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone onto his shoulder, one for each of the Israelite tribes, 6 so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 you should tell them, ‘The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.” (Joshua 4:4-7)
There have been so many seasons of my life where verse 4 applies, where the Lord is asking me to follow behind Him so that I can see the way to go, especially when I haven’t gone that way before. And how kind of Him, to say, “Hold on, step back and watch what I’m going to do.” I get so frustrated with my girls when we’re at the grocery store and they walk in front of the cart, like they know where we’re going or something. It drives me nuts. But how often do I assume that I know exactly what God wants, and stand in His way instead of following behind Him as he prepares the way? Oh, I dunno, just ALL THE TIME.
But this stacking of stones- it was His idea. His idea for the Israelites to follow His lead, make a meaningful monument, and to tell their children of what He had done for them.
The other thing that literally just popped out at me as I was writing this was the fact that before the water-splitting miracle happens, Joshua says, “The Lord will do wonders among you TOMORROW.” And after that is when God tells Joshua that He will consecrate them TODAY, at which point He tells them to stand IN the Jordan.
When waiting for a miracle, I often think that I should wait at the water’s edge. Like I’ll roll right up to it, wait for it to part, roll right through, and then go about my merry way. But I love how God commands them to put their feet IN the water, before anything has even happened. He never says “Just wait around and don’t take any actions at all”. Instead, He beckons us to step into the river and get our feet wet before the miracle comes.
They stepped out, the miracle came, they stacked the stones.
I guess I want to end with two questions for you today:
Where do you need to step out? And what stones would He have you stack, my friend?
As Nathan and I sat in that appointment, I looked around, taking it all in, because I knew that I was gathering a stone as I sat in that seat. A stone that said “where there was no way, He did it. He made a way.” And a stone that reminded me that He really does do what He says He’ll do. He really can make a way. He really can give you your heart’s desires, and there is nothing that is impossible for Him.
I don’t know where you’re at today, my friend, but what I do know is this: He sees you. He sees your heart, He sees your faithfulness, He sees your dreams, and He knows your hurts. My hope for you today is that you can step into that river, expectantly. I hope you can grab a stone, expectantly. And as you stack that stone in your mind and your heart, I hope that you can speak Truth to yourself, remind your heart of who He is, and stand in that water until the miracle comes.
I am cheering for you today, my friend. And from someone who’s ankle deep in the river of waiting, I say yes and amen to your boldness in stepping out. What good things He has for us, friend. Let’s stand in this river together.