The Israelites stood before another body of water this one led to a fulfillment of the promise God gave them generations before they crossed the Red Sea. Now those grown children were seeing a promise they may have barely believed was real anymore.
This time their leader Joshua was instructed to have the priests carry the presence of God into the Jordan before the waters were stopped. It then dried under the feet standing in it.
After all the people had crossed dry and safe, Joshua did something different. He called 12 men from each tribe back to where the priests stood. Following God’s instruction, He told them to each gather a stone of remembrance.
They placed the stones one on top of the other and left them at Gilgal. They were to remind their children that God had stopped and dried the water for them.
Earlier in their history, God protected the Israelites from an attack from the Philistines. After God responded with their deliverance Samuel set up a stone of remembrance. It was called an Ebenezer meaning “stone of help.”
This year I will have several milestones, and I would be remiss to not pile my own stones of the faithfulness of God.
In the next year (from July 2017 to June 2018) I will set up the following stones:
A stone of covenant
In August, I will celebrate 15 years of covenant with my spouse. I cannot tell you how good God is to have given me such a man to walk alongside in this life. About the time I could really complain, God does something in him or in me that brings life back into the promise we made on the cranberry carpeted steps of our church. God has been our help.
A stone of testing
In September, I will turn 40. I’m really not stressing it since age has never been a big thing for me. (Plus I was 40 when I was five.) The number 40 has represented a time of testing in the Bible. I feel that there is a very real sense of having accomplished something by now. Some very hard tests have come in the first 40 years of my life.
Stones of generations
The number 40 also represents the coming of a new generation. This will not surprise me as I place the next stones. In December and May respectively, I will place two very similar stones. A “parenting a teenager” stone will be followed by an “I don’t have any grade schoolers” stone (don’t worry I’ll have a few years and Snickle will knock this one over for a while).
A stone of anguish
In April, I will place perhaps one of the heaviest and hardest earned stones. My mother will have been in heaven for 10 years. The number ten represents completion in scripture. And while grief never truly leaves you, nothing shows you how complete God is like the loss of one you hold dear.
As I stack them one by one, I cannot begin to tell you how much my heart resounds with Samuel’s words as he set up the Ebenezer. “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
Thus far the Lord has helped me, friends.
I pray you’ll let him be your help, too.