Here I Raise My Ebenezer.
I wrote this journal entry in May of 2018. I’m reposting it today as a reminder to myself. We have had a wonderful month enjoying having family and friends with us in Malawi. This week will be hard as we adjust back to “normal” life without family, my mom specifically, nearby. In addition, two wonderful families we were beginning to know well returned to their home countries this month. In the midst of these transitions, I’m choosing to raise my Ebenezer. I’m going to remember that our God, who has always proven faithful, will continue to prove faithful. He will be our ever present Companion even when our family is half a world away. He will faithfully grow new relationships as we serve in Malawi.
As I’ve been reflecting back for the last several weeks writing how the Lord brought Josh and I together, I have been reminded of just how good God is to me. So today’s post I am “raising my Ebenezer”.
The line from the famous hymn, Come Thou Fount, says, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’ve come.” The line of this hymn is derived from 1 Samuel 7:12. Prior to this verse, the Lord had interceded on behalf of the Israelites yet again. He threw their enemies, the Philistines, into total confusion, granting the Israelites the victory. 1 Samuel 7:12 (NASB) tells us what the prophet Samuel’s worshipful response was. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.””
When I raise my Ebenezer, I am marking the Lord’s faithfulness in my life. I am saying the Lord has always helped me. The Lord has always been good to me. Therefore, the Lord can always be trusted. Remembering the Lord’s past faithfulness prepares my heart for the future He has in store for me. I can say with confidence that because God has always been faithful, He will always be faithful.
I can confidently draw that conclusion because I know I serve a God who does not change. James 1:17 reminds me that God, who has always been good, does not change. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV)
My life is so full of “good gifts” that come from the Lord who “thus far has helped [me]”. If I tried to name them all then I’d be here forever. However, my greatest gift is not the gift at all. It is the giver. I love the way the New Living Translation words Psalm 16:5a. It says, “Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.” I pray I come to the point where I can boldly say that if God took away every gift He has given me I would be ok, because I have Him. He alone is my inheritance. I know I’m not to that point yet. I will always be learning how to trust him.
I admit that the reason I’m writing on raising my Ebenezer is because I’ve been doubting whether or not God will continue to be good. Let me follow up that statement by saying that God has NEVER given me a reason to doubt that He will be good to me. That doubt stems from my unfounded fear and intense dislike for change, neither of which are from God. When I’m listening to that fear and dislike for change, I can slip into thinking that Malawi will not be a good thing for us. I can think that God won’t provide for our needs, both physically, emotionally and relationally. I can worry that my girls will somehow be missing out. I can worry over anything and everything, BUT that isn’t truth.
Truth is that the Lord, who doesn’t change, has ALWAYS helped me. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is the Good Shepherd who makes His sheep rest in green pastures and who walks with His sheep through the darkest of valleys. He is my cup of blessing. Every good gift I have is from Him and He isn’t going to stop giving me good gifts when we get to Malawi. He has helped me thus far, so “here I raise my Ebenezer.”