Joshua spoke to the Lord; and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped….There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded a human voice; for the Lord fought for Israel. Joshua 10:12–14
The story of Joshua asking the Lord to make the sun stand still so that the Israelites would have time to achieve victory in battle is remarkable. Most people focus on the miraculous nature of this story, wondering how the sun stood still or how the earth ceased its rotation upon Joshua’s request. Such a story is certainly fodder for any skeptic who wants to take issue with the grand claims of the Bible. And yet, it may not be all that out of line with human physiology, which is something of a miracle in its own right. How many times have people found themselves in a moment of crisis, only to feel as if time slowed almost to a stop? It is amazing that when a moment calls for lightning-quick responses, our bodies and our minds process events more quickly than we ever imagined. We are able to respond with a speed that makes the event itself appear to move in slow motion. Who knows if the sun stood still for Joshua or if in the heat of battle time seemed to slow for the Israelites?
In the end, a celestial standstill is not the point of the story. The most remarkable feature of this story, according to the biblical author, is that God heeded the request of a mortal—and on a grand scale. For the writer of this story, the sun standing still wasn’t nearly as impressive as God heeding Joshua’s request. If you think about it, it is a remarkable claim we make as people of faith: we dare to believe that the Maker of heaven and earth pauses to consider our requests and responds to them. God pausing to consider our situation and the claim that the sun stood still for Joshua should serve to remind us of God’s intense interest in our lives—individually and collectively.
What request do you want to make of God?
Lord, the sun standing still is no more remarkable than Your Son stopping on the road to tend to a lost sinner. The fact that You take notice of us at all—as small as we are—is nothing short of a cosmic-sized miracle. Thank You for taking notice of us, listening to us, and heeding our requests. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.