Twelve stones

Years ago, a coworker borrowed a nickel from me for the vending machine. He returned the nickel a few days later, making a joke about God giving back to us when we give. Though he was only joking, it was a powerful message that I needed at the time. So I taped that nickel to my wall as a reminder.

The plastic ID holder in my wallet finally gave up the ghost this evening. Going through the contents was like a brief journey to my past. During that journey, I came across a card I’d put in a specific spot for a reason – yet I’d totally forgotten about it:

This card was given to me by a pastor friend who, at the time, had experienced multiple miscarriages (I think the exact number was somewhere between 5 and 7). Those prints are from the feet of one of her miscarried babies. I have no children and have never been pregnant, so I can barely imagine the emotional pain a woman experiences after one miscarriage – let alone multiple ones. For ALL of your pregnancies to end in miscarriage…unfathomable. Yet, this woman had journeyed through that wilderness and lived to tell the tale. Not only had she lived to tell the tale, she shared it with people as a way to counsel them through their own pain. When a woman who has been through this kind of pain tells you that God will be your comforter, you can rest assured she’s speaking from experience.

We often struggle with the question of why God doesn’t shield us from the pain and trials of life. This card is a reminder of the quote, “If He brings us to it, He’ll bring us through it.” God may not steer us around trials, but He is walking with us every step of the way and will continue to be with us in the aftermath.

Joshua chapters 3 and 4 tell the story of how God parted the Jordan River so Joshua and the children of Israel could cross over on dry land. Once they were on the other side, Joshua instructed each tribe to select a stone. These twelve stones were set up as a memorial. They were a reminder to future generations of how God had come through for His people time and time again. They were also reason to continue to trust Him.

My nickel and my friend’s footprint cards are, to me, modern day examples of the Twelve Stones. What about you, what kinds of stones have you set aside?