Today, what is giving me hope is my box of Ebenezers. When I heard the word “Ebenezer,” I used to think “Scrooge,” which is sort of the opposite of hope. Thankfully, there is a much more beautiful, biblical interpretation. According to the Bible, Ebenezer means “stone of help.”
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” [1 Samuel 7:12]
This was one of the first lessons I remember learning from my Grandpa Harness (besides that it was okay to eat cookies for dinner at their house), and one of the most precious to this day. He told me that whenever God amazes you – when He provides for you miraculously, when He comforts you in a time of great pain, when He heals, delivers, teaches, guides, makes a way where there is no way – first you stop and worship Him. Then you take a memento, a little stone from your alter, an Ebenezer. Find something physical that you can keep forever, so that every time you see it, you will remember what the Lord has done for you. “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
I’m glad I learned the lesson early because, oh! The things in my little box of Ebenezers! I have years and years worth of reminders of God’s goodness to me. I have greeting cards from people who sent us money when we needed it in the worst way, I have smooth river rocks with scripture references written on them, I have mementos from conferences that were life-changing, coins and sand from North Africa to remind me of the things that God did in my heart while I was there.
And if ever I am feeling hopeless – will we make it through? Will things ever get better? Does God really have a plan for my life? Where do we go from here? I can look through my box of Ebenezers and my heart swells. As I lay my eyes and hands on each token I remember, thus far the Lord has helped me. He provides, He gives peace, He brings healing, He brings joy, He restores, He forgives, He redeems. I know because I’ve seen it. He has done it for me.
Being reminded of God’s provision and providence in the past gives me hope for the future.
Take some time to reflect today: What has God brought you through? Write down all the ways God has provided for you just this year, or even this month. Worship God for His goodness and allow a new hope to be born in your heart! And if you don’t make a practice of it already, I encourage you to begin collecting tokens, Ebenezers, so that when you lay hands on each of your special treasures, you will be reminded, “Thus far the LORD has helped me.” He is faithful indeed.
“Here I raise my Ebenezer Hither by Thy help I come And I hope by Thy good pleasure Safely to arrive at home Jesus sought me when a stranger Wondering from the fold of God He, to rescue me from danger Interposed His precious blood.”