About this blog: Discussing religion, spirituality and values. About the writers: Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. Janet Marshall is the religion editor for The Free Lance-Star.
COLUMN: Tokens of answered prayers help relieve doubt
SINCE I BEGAN writing this column little more than a year ago, our nation has faced a number of national tragedies. The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Colorado movie theatre shooting and the bombings at the Boston Marathon have left me searching for the words that will bring comfort in a time of grief, loss and uncertainty.
Unfortunately, our nation is grieving yet another senseless tragedy—the shooting rampage at the Naval Yard located in Washington.
My heart breaks for the families who unknowingly said good-bye for the last time to their loved ones. Thankfully, there are not many of us that can relate to that experience but we all have our own trials to face and grief to bear.
Last week, a friend learned that her son has a 4-inch brain tumor. One day he was running and playing like any other little boy; the next he faced an eight-hour surgery to remove the growth that threatened his very life. His family is taking one day—one hour—at a time as they walk the road towards his very uncertain future.
In my own life, we face uncertainty as my husband struggles with pain from a sudden back injury. Medical bills are beginning to pile up and I fear the amount of time that he may have to be out of work.
I cling to God’s promise to provide for all of our needs, but the practical side of my personality has a difficult time understanding how that is going to happen.
I have spent this past week wrestling with God in prayer as I beg Him to heal my husband and my friend’s little boy. In response, I heard Him whisper, “remember the rocks.”
As Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan into the Promised Land, God instructed them to build a memorial of 12 stones on the shore of the river. God wanted these stones to be a reminder for generations to come of all that He had done for them in leading them to their promised home.
In this time of trouble, when it feels like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, I cling to my own memorial rocks. His hand of protection over me through dangerous events in my childhood. God’s amazing provision after the death of my father. His miraculous healing of my daughter after her premature birth. His provision during the four months that my husband worked but did not get paid several years ago.
I go into my bedroom and dust the pile of rocks that are sitting on the bookshelf.
Each one represents an answered prayer of healing for my daughter. The cold, hard stone in my hand is a tangible reminder that miracles do happen, that God is there and that He does answer prayer.
When we face difficult times and heart-breaking circumstances meditating on God’s previous faithfulness and goodness strengthens us in the Lord.
King David, the man after God’s own heart, did this often. In Psalm 77:10-11 he prays, “This is my anguish. But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord. Surely, I will remember Your wonders of old.”
I don’t know what difficult circumstance you might be facing right now, but I am confident that if you look back over your life you will find rocks of remembrance. Might you consider memorializing those events in a tangible way?
So that when waves of doubt and sorrow threaten to overtake you, you need only to look at those stones to remember that God is always good and God is always faithful.
Just as the stones reminded the Israelites that even though the journey to the promised land was fraught with difficulties, God was with them every step of the way.
Heather Ablondi is a women’s ministry speaker and author who resides in Fredericksburg. You can contact her through her website, www.heatherablondi.com.