If you are anything like me, you have periods of time in your life when things are going
so wrong that you don’t know if they will ever feel right again. It feels like you are in
such a deep valley that the thought of getting to a mountain top again is not even
fathomable. I’m in just such a season right now. But, thankfully, we have the hope that
it is just that…a season, and He will see us through.
I was reminded this week of just why exactly we can have this hope that He will see us
through, and God so graciously reminded me of the story from 1 Samuel 7. This is the
story when Samuel subdues the Philistines at Mizpah, and he took a stone and set it up
between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has
helped us.” So many times in Scripture, the people of God would be so faithful to
remember God’s promises and provision. They remember His grace, His love, His
mercy, and they continue to. This remembrance helped them have the strength to
begin again when life was tough.
The word Ebenezer means “stone of help.” In 1 Samuel, it was erected as a tangible
reminder of God’s power and provision. Every time the Israelites saw it, they would be
reminded of the spot where the enemy had been defeated and God’s promise to bless
His people had been fulfilled. The Lord had followed through with His promise, His
help, His provision, for His people.
So, why should we have an Ebenezer? Well, in times of trouble or heartache or stress,
we can often forget the goodness of God or how He has provided and seen us through
in the past. Think about Peter in Matthew 14. In one moment, he sees Jesus and
walks unafraid forward. But, in the next moment, he looks away and see the storm.
Within seconds, he forgets about God’s goodness and begins to sink. So, ebenezers
help us to remember when we forget because we WILL forget. Our emotions tend to
cloud our judgment making us question and doubt where God is in the midst of our
storm. Ebenezers remind us that God is not just a God of our past, but He is also a
God of our present and future, too.
Remembering is a path to gratitude. So many times, we fail to see how far we have
come or just how much God is working in our lives until we have the perspective of the
rearview mirror. Our faith asks us to trust God in the today and tomorrow. However,
pausing to reflect for a moment asks us to stop and say thank you for what He did
yesterday. How will you hold on to God’s faithfulness? What is your Ebenezer?