By Jennifer Thomas
Memorial stones, or stones of remembrance, were used in the Old Testament to serve as a permanent reminder and a memorial of the mighty acts of God on behalf of the Israelite people. The stones served as a reminder that God is personal and powerful. They marked a memory. Today, we have our own memorial stones. They may not be piled up in our backyards, but they are etched in our hearts and on our minds.
One such moment in my life was on May 5, 2017. I remember it like it was yesterday. You don’t forgot days like that. It was a normal day and night, until it wasn’t. My unexpected moment came early on May 5 at 12:15am. I was awakened from my sleep by my husband in distress. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was having a stroke. Those first few hours I just felt numb and in shock.
As time moved on and yet seemed to stand still at the same time, God showed up and showed out. My unexpected was not a surprise to our all knowing God. He was ready to provide for our needs in abundance in ways we didn’t even know we needed.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
I remember so clearly being at the Minden airport, just before sunrise, watching them put my husband on a medevac helicopter headed to Ochsner in New Orleans. I was unable to ride with him, but a dear friend was there with his helicopter to take me to New Orleans. As we took off, the reality of all that had happened began to sink in. I closed my eyes from exhaustion for just a few moments. When I opened my eyes, the sun was rising and my heart was filled with a peace only God could provide. It was like he was speaking to me in that sunrise. In my spirit, I heard these words, “I am here. Everything will be okay. I will help you get through this.”
There were so many moving parts in that day that I didn’t see until I found myself sitting on the floor with my Bible in my hotel room. I opened it, not looking for a verse, but Psalm 28:7 was before my eyes.
“The Lord is my strength, and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
He was my strength and my help that day and beyond. His presence and provision was just overwhelming on that day. The people, the delays that ended up being blessings, and so much more. We returned home on May 7, 2017, to be greeted with more of God’s blessings and provision. My husband survived his stroke and May 5th stands as a memorial stone in my life of God’s abundant love and provision. I remember every person God put in our path that day and I am grateful beyond words. Our God is so good and so faithful to provide for all of our needs at just the right time and in just the right measure.
What “memorial stones” do you have in your life? They may not always involve the unexpected moments. It may be moments of joy, celebration, or even grief. It may be the moment when God became real to you and the Scriptures came alive in your heart. It is good to remember those moments, especially in hard times, that God is always present, faithful, and active in our lives. We may not always see it or sense it in the moment, but He is there. We won’t always understand His ways. But, when we need it the most, He shows up and shows out in ways that only He can.
Praise be to God for His faithful love, never ending mercies, and amazing grace!