Two years ago this very day, I walked away from surgical options and walked into a room at church. That room was flooded with equal parts sunlight and hope.
Two years ago, at this time I was laying it all down at your feet Jesus. I walked in hoping for a miracle and walked out with so much more.
So, do you know what we’re doing today?
On this 2 year Anniversary of my HEALING, we are stacking stones.
That’s right. Oh, that’s not how you celebrate? Maybe you should start. Because in my experience, in order to appreciate a gift, you have to acknowledge the pain. Stacking Stones is a practical way to do both.
Nobody teaches this better than Joshua. So, before you head out to find some rocks. I want you to hear this story. Pay attention to the details. Remember the details.
For some context, we are picking up after the crazy miracle of God splitting the Jordan River so the Israelites could cross on dry land. Again, huge miracle in and of itself. But let’s get to the lesson and pick up the story in Chapter 4, appropriately called:
The Memorial Stones
4 After the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua: 2 “Choose twelve men from the people, one man for each tribe,3 and command them: Take twelve stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.”
4 So Joshua summoned the twelve 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. 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 water of the Jordan was cut off in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s water was cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.”
8 The Israelites did just as Joshua had commanded them. The twelve men took stones from the middle of the Jordan, one for each of the Israelite tribes, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the camp and set them down there. 9 Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing. The stones are still there today. The priests carrying the ark continued standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people, in keeping with all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people hurried across, and after everyone had finished crossing, the priests with the ark of the Lord crossed in the sight of the people.”
That’s a lot. I know. We’re focusing on God’s request to set up some stones.
Those Israelites were so freaked out they hurried right through their miracle. I would have too, totally. But God gave them another gift (that’s just His way). He knew they’d rush through so God gave the priests and Joshua a command to stand; giving them a chance to watch all of them pass by, making eye contact with so many faithful followers and encouraging them to keep going while they held the ark.
Do you remember where Joshua set up his own stack of stones? Right in the middle, like a secret just for him and God to remember together.
Imagine Joshua looking for those rocks and piling them right there in the middle of his obedience. He should be drowning but God made a way. I bet with each stone he’s thinking of the names of the people they lost along the way. Because even on the way to a miracle, there will be loss and there will be things you need to grieve. And you must. I’m sorry but you must grieve the sad and the hard. Take the time to fully understand and name the hurt.
“We don’t remember the past great works of God so that we can live in a dreamland of the past, thinking that the best days of our Christian experience are behind us. We remember them as a point of faith, so we can trust God for greater and greater works in the future, because we have seen and experienced His past faithfulness.” If you just watched the video of me, you need to move right on out of dreamland and recognize the living, powerful, right next to you God that is capable of greater and greater works.
Two years ago, I walked away from pain and possible paralysis and I am walking in power. It’s not just for me. It’s for you too. Remember who you are, to whom you belong, remember the plan is good, not easy but it is good and full of hope. Remember, God doesn’t work according to this world’s economy of shortages. He works in the Abundantly More kinda way. Get out of your head. God wants to make a new way.
C.S. Lewis wrote “Most people don’t need to be taught, they need only to be reminded.” Stacking stones is a beautiful way to remember that Eternity is written on your heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The Spirit of the Lord is on you because the Lord has anointed you (Isaiah 61). You were chosen before creation (Ephesians 1).
You just need to be reminded.
This is me reminding you.
If I were to stack Memorial Stones right now, it would look like a heap of pain pills, medical bills, cards of sympathy and encouragement, scriptures, time-lapse videos of sunrises, white boards in hospitals with my nurses names on them, a stack of journals, a bunch of blog posts and a lot of you. Those help me remember my pain. They help me say thank you.
If I were to stack some stones for November 8, 2021, celebrating two years of healing; it would look like hiking trails, picking out which torpedo or slam ball to lift, white boards with crazy workouts written on them, standing at soccer games, deep breathing, no more pills, plenty more journals scribbled with scripture and questions and gratitude, Jesus showing up in all the beautiful ways and a lot of you. It all helps me remember my pain, be blown away by my health and helps me say thank you even louder.
Today, would you go out and find 3 or 4 rocks? Look, if you need to go to the craft store and get the smooth ones; that is all good. Spend some time stacking stones. You can choose to make each rock represent someone in your family and make a pile praying for them. You can lay out that big hope on your heart and let each rock be part of the prayer. Display your Memorial Stones. Let your friends and family ask you questions. “Let them be a sign among you.” and “When others ask, what do these stones mean to you? You should tell them.”
Stacking Stones is a powerful way of letting the light in.