I am an only child. I am a girl. Rocks were not a big part of my upbringing – a sure irony in giving me three boys, one of whom is an avid rock collector. Even though I believe rocks belong outdoors, a gigantic glass jar full of rocks perches on a shelf at home. The amazing rocks and stones are surprisingly beautiful to me now.
It is even more paradoxical that God would use rocks in His Word to give me tremendous encouragement as a young mother. My deepest concern was that I would ruin my children. The days were long at home with little ones and this only fed my melancholy. Many days of grief spilled out because of my temperament. Satan held me in a dark place of insecurity because I was so assured of my sinfulness while also underestimating the power of God to work in me.
Then, I opened the Word to Isaiah 54, and God opened my heart. His words spoke to me, and for years these particular verses have been a source of encouragement and strength.
11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones.
13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children. ~Isaiah 54:11-13 ESV
Before my middle son ever had his Autism diagnosis, I was an “afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted”. Prone to discouragement, I constantly assumed I was never enough. I figured my kids would get fed and clothed just fine, but that they would not be nurtured well, or taught about God in a meaningful way, or that frankly my sin would be too great and they would just think I was a hypocrite. Spiritually, you likely see my bent toward the negative! For a while, these things consumed my thoughts. So, when God showed grace by His Word through a demonstration of rocks…I knew it had to be God speaking.
To the one who knows Jesus but is still storm-tossed and not comforted, God will set your stones secure and versatile (feature of antimony). Where God guides, He provides. This goes perfectly with 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) that promises us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through the knowledge of Him that called us by His own glory and goodness.” and Philippians 4:19 (NASB), “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory”. If you know the Lord, whatever you need for whatever He brings, you can be assured you will have it!
Your foundations are sapphires. In the same family with rubies, it is one of the firmest most durable stones, just under the diamond. In Exodus 24, Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and 70 elders of Israel see the Lord. Under His feet was a pavement of sapphires, as clear as the sky itself. In a very real sense, as we follow Him, His path becomes our path – and that includes suffering. We can rest assured He has not only determined the path, but He also joins us and guides us each step of the way.
Agate is a rock made up of many colors and grains…and no two Agate are alike. God is able to make your heart (…life…marriage…motherhood) beautiful and precious in a variety of ways while accomplishing the singular beauty of His glory in it. You may be many things – a woman/wife/mom, or a man/husband/dad and just as you are many variations but all the same person, God will set the stones of your life in such a way that you will be all things radiantly and uniquely.
Like carbuncle stones exist to be radiant particularly from a distance, God is demonstrating His work in you to a lost and dying world. From your foundations to your gates, even your wall is beautiful. The wall is a guard. God builds this wall around you to protect you and your family – maybe it is your purity, your encouragement, your wisdom…or a hundred other traits you possess by His grace.
For me, the biggest encouragement was this promise: Then your sons will be taught of Me and their well being will be great.
When? Then. God fulfills His promise to us….that’s Then.
Then – as God fortifies you, builds you up, as you yield to Him as the Master Designer of such a wondrous structure.
Then – as He establishes a foundation not built on happy circumstances, but on a sturdy faith that believes and trusts Him.
Then – as He places boundaries and walls of protection surrounding our homes, built firmly on trust that God’s ways are right and good because God loves us deeply..
1 Thessalonians 5:24 – Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.