I need direction. Constantly! Without it, my mind will wander and ramble to worlds unknown and I’ll get sidetracked from accomplishing what I need to in the real world. I remember well the old line “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it…” from Come Thou Fount. There’s another great line in that song that says “Here I raise my ebenezer” and if you don’t know what an ebenezer is (who would?) you’ll miss a great thought.
It’s the thought that God has brought me this far, I want to trust Him with the next steps, and here is a reminder of how worthy of my trust He’s proven Himself to be already. In 1 Samuel 7, the Israelites were gathered to fast and repent in hopes to end what seemed like a 20 year abandonment from God. Their nation was not well. They no longer knew that the God who brought them there was with them.
As Samuel urged them to return to God and gave them some direction to turn their hearts toward Him, the Philistines saw an opportunity to attack. This was understandably terrifying for Israel, they’d gathered to beg God for help, not for war. As the terror spread, Samuel urged them to continue to plead with God for deliverance.
God answered in a big way and the people of Israel celebrated a great victory. Samuel marked the occasion by standing up a monolith and naming it Ebenezer, the “stone of help” saying “up to this point the Lord has helped us!” This monument to God’s faithfulness served to remind them that the presence of God was still indeed available.
If you’re like me, you need such reminders, too. Reminders that God is at work in and around you. Reminders that He is faithfully here, with us, working to restore all things to the wholeness of His intent. These reminders help us find direction.
I have a handful of such ‘ebenezers’ in my life. A keychain from my first trip to another country… all alone (but not alone at all), artwork from a Catalyst conference where I was pushed in needed ways, a small root from a huge tree that had to be dug up to keep from caving in the basement wall of our first house (where God provided in so many ways), rhinos that remind me of the powerful force He’s left here to accomplish His mission (we call it church and when we pull together under His lead, we are unstoppable), an Acura center cap from a wheel that fell off my daughter’s car as she drove down the highway (He’s got plans for her, I have no doubt!)…
I’m a bit of a hoarder so I can clutter up my life with trinkets and memories, but these are a few that help me stay on course with His direction. Reminders of how God has helped me to this point – and of the promise that He will help me further as I continue to seek to serve Him. And I suppose, when it really comes down to it, that’s all the direction we really need.
What are your Ebenezers?
A few years ago, I developed a guided journal for my students and I to use in building up our conversation with God as we were seeking His direction. It’s helped me learn to recognize His voice and talk with Him (not just at Him). I’d love if it could help you to also find the direction you’re looking for. It’s simply called PRAY, and you can get one for $5 at that link right now!