“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
Samuel took this stone and set it up as a memorial because of the way the Lord had helped the Israelites win a battle with the Philistines. If you have ever heard the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing then you’ve surely heard the line that says “Here I raise my Ebenezer”. For years I didn’t really know what that line meant, but it comes from this verse in 1 Samuel. The word Ebenezer means “stone of help” so Samuel set this stone up and named it Ebenezer so that the Israelites would have something to look upon to remember how God had helped them in battle to defeat the Philistines.
Well for the past year we have been in a battle with this unseen virus that is attacking us from all sides. So today and for the next couple of weeks we are going to raise an Ebenezer and remember the ways the Lord has helped us. One year ago today, churches had to find new ways to worship, schools were being put on hold and we were all told to stay home and not leave our homes to try to flatten the curve. I am so glad that no one could see into the future, or maybe they did and I didn’t want to believe them, and tell me that this thing would still be going on this year. I remember thinking it would be just a couple of weeks, then oh maybe a couple of months but surely by Mother’s Day, by Summer, by 4th of July, by start of school, by Christmas it will all be over. Yet here we are 1 year later. The numbers I pulled up today say that 29.5 million people have had Covid and 534 thousand people have lost their lives from it. I had it, and I have lost friends from it. Suffice it to say, I HATE COVID.
But when we raise our Ebenezer, we want to look at the ways the Lord has helped us thus far. I think sometimes reflection is good. It is good to look back and see how far you have come. You see when you are in the middle of the baby steps it is so hard to see the progress. But when you look back and see how far you have come it somehow will help spur you to go a little farther on. One year ago today was a Sunday and it was the first Sunday that all the churches had to close doors and it was the first Sunday for many churches to figure out new innovative ways to HAVE church! Now most of us, where I live anyway are back in church and I think most of us are more grateful for it than maybe we have ever been in our lives. We have always been able to take for granted that we could freely worship and freely go to church. But after the last year, I for one don’t think I will ever take that for granted again.
In one year we now have vaccines that are in place to help us in this battle. We have hope that maybe one day we will not have to wear masks wherever we go and maybe we will all get to hug our people again. I don’t think we will take family dinners and girlfriend trips and sporting events and concerts for granted ever again. I know there are a lot of people not sold on the vaccines and I am not getting into that debate, but I for one am taking it if it will help me to never feel like I did with Covid again.
I also want to say that as I raise my Ebenezer, I am closer to the Lord than I have maybe ever been. He has helped me thus far by meeting with me daily. He has become my constant companion. Oh I know he was there all along and I have had a daily quiet time for many years but I can tell you that some of the isolation I have felt from people over the last year has fostered a more intimate, more personal, more steadfast relationship with my Savior. I know Him better, I trust Him even more than I did before. I love Him more and I am grateful for His ever present constant companionship.
So how about it? What’s your Ebenezer? How has the Lord helped you in this Corona-battle thus far? Go ahead, look back, reflect a little, raise an Ebenezer, to look at and remember how the Lord has helped you thus far!