Matthew 21:44 Whoever falls on this Stone will be broken. And on the one it falls, it will make him like dust.
Psalm 103:14. He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust.
On days like today, I wish I could be stoned. Yes, you did read (or hear) that correctly – stoned.
Stoned in the wish I had the basaltic mountain of faith of Stephen in Acts 7 where he was stoned by the Pharisees for believing in the One True Christ, the stone the builders rejected (Mark 12:10). Stephen was a living stone believer who cried out to God in worship as the stones were crushing his body and burying everything of him, except his faith (1 Peter 2:4-5). Stephen’s granite faith built a legacy wall in Saul and in millions of people following behind him over thousands of years until now.
Stoned in the wish I had the un-erodible diamond trust in God of Joshua in Joshua 4 where he commanded the Israelites to bring up twelve stones from the Jordan River to be memorials to future generations of the paved highways God made through the Red Sea, desert, and Jordan River into the Promised Land. Joshua stood firm on God’s unshakable foundation promises even when the giants loomed large and near and the land of milk and honey, far and unconquerable.
I need that kind of stony faith in an unshakable God. For on days like today, I can’t even hold up a mustard seed, much less a pebble of faith, against the waves of pain washing over me. My highway through this sea is not just damp or squishy, but a deep choking mud up to my neck.
And there face-down in the mud, my soul cries out as Jeremiah did in the pain of Israel’s sin and rebellion, is there no balm in Gilead? (Jeremiah 8:22). Jeremiah wasn’t released from the unyielding weight of being God’s prophet. He had no respite from the boulder-burden of truth-telling; I have no respite from this pain of decaying heart and flesh. I wonder if he longed for, like I do, the deep sleep and rest Jacob had with his pillow of stone in Genesis 28. Jacob dreamed of the angels that night and awoke refreshed; I wrestle with this decaying body every night and day in a fight I can’t win.
Yet this fight I can’t win is the battle that can bring victory to my Cornerstone Christ, if I choose to fall upon Him and be made dust. For my Christ became dust for my redemption. My Christ was crushed so that His righteousness might become mine. And my Christ ever gently reminds me He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever as more and more of my heart and flesh return to dust.
O Jesus, please take dusty me and the ashes in which I sit today like Job and shape me into a pot of Your making. Please imbue Your strength into each particle of the soil of my soul and help me stand fixed and firm on the foundation of Your promises. O Jesus, please remember that I am but dust while helping me remember that You are the unchanging Cornerstone of creation and eternity.
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021