Thursday, April 16, 2009

Here I Raise My Ebenezers ...

"… hither by Thy help I’ve come, and we hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home." ~" Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," Robert Robinson, 1758

"While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage in battle.  But that day the LORD thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites.  ... 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 7-10-12

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after them." ~Deuteronomy 4:9

For years, I have kept a little notecard I received from a high school friend. I had not seen her since graduation in 1987, but two years later, when I was contemplating quitting my job to follow God to the summer mission field, this simple note arrived in the mail. She had no idea that I was struggling with that decision, and had no idea that God was using her to remind me of His truths. The card reads:

“Sharon, Just thought I’d write you a note to let you know that I’m thinking about you. Remember Philippians 4:19, ‘And my God shall supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.’ Love, Michelle”  

I was in tears.  There was no reason she should have written that to me but that God had laid it on her heart.  Still today, every time I am tempted to think that God may not provide, I am drawn back to this note and the truths that it stands for, and my faith is strengthened.

A brief note from a friend is one of my Ebenezers.

If you were to walk into our bathroom, you would find something odd hanging on the cabinet: one simple clear plastic shower curtain ring. When we moved to Texas in 2000 to begin seminary, I found the ring lying on the counter in the bathroom of our apartment when we arrived. I almost threw it away; after all, why would I want some random shower curtain ring that someone had left behind?  But when we unpacked and began to hang up our shower curtain with the set of rings we had brought with us, amazingly ... or maybe not so amazingly ... we were one short of a complete set. 

Some may think it's silly, but I can't bear to part with it.  Nine years later this little plastic ring still reminds me of God’s provision, even in the simplest things, and that he sometimes provides even before we know we have a need.  

A shower curtain ring is one of my Ebenezers.

Whether physical artifacts like these, or memories of the times we’ve witnessed God’s incredible faithfulness, each of my “Ebenezers” has a valued place in my walk of faith.  Because we do not sense God telling us to slow down or go another way, we are continuing down the road to leave in July. No, we can’t see beyond the bend, but we are able to walk because we have witnessed God’s faithfulness; we have seen Him “come through” in the past and we know that He is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine!

I'm curious.  What are your Ebenezers?


  1. The shower curtain ring is going in the box of things you absolutely must have in PNG, right?


  2. I always marvel at the very small details of God. I know He is a big God, so I "expect" Him to answer big things.But, it is the small things that always cause to me to go "Wow!"
    You will never forget the curtain ring, but I bet He has done some big things that may have slipped your mind through the years.
    We got married, had a honeymoon and moved also to Dallas (DTS) to begin seminary. We had a small amount of money to tide us over until we both found jobs.One day, we were out of money and were wondering if and how we would eat.
    We came home to our tiny apartment, after a long day of job searching, opened up our mail to find a letter containing $35.00. A small thing but huge to us! And I have never forgotten.

  3. Yes, the shower curtain ring goes. :) Yes, I have many, many more. For example, the cash that an older woman came and brought me without warning - her rainy day fund that she just felt God was leading her to give me. I could tell she was very grieved to part with it, and I hated to take it because I did not even need it at that time. I told her I would hold it until I knew what it was for. I was in tears, too, because it wasn't lost on me that eventually we would be in this support raising phase of our mission journey, and once again, here was God, showing me that he would provide for our financial needs. I really think that was all it intended to do for me. A few months later I found out who it really was for and changed someone else's life with it. What a privilege!

  4. You know when God speaks scripture into your life -not just words on a page but vibrant, applicable, perfectly timed, living words that you hold onto for dear life to get you through a trying moment... Our family has a dish with black river rocks inside. Written in white paint pen are the scriptures that God has gifted us with in a personal and faith building way. Under the dish is a pocket photo book with index cards retelling a brief summary of the struggle and the sweet reassuring answer God provided through scripture in unexpected ways. My kiddos love to read these while holding our growing collection of "Ebenezer stones." And in those doubtful moments they are such a source of reassurance to me as well!

  5. Sharon,
    I have another friend preparing to go to Poland. She put this in her last update. I thought you'd like it.
    Missionary: Lord, is it true that a thousand years to us is like a minute to you?
    God: Yes
    Missionary: Then a million dollars to us must just be a penny to you
    God: Yes
    Missionary: Lord, Would you give me one of those pennies?
    God: All right. Wait here a minute.

  6. I have a favorite body wrist. While on the mission field of El Salvador, I made a very simple fabric bracelets in a girls' prison, I was given a leather bracelet from a poor village woman and one of our translators gave me a little red bead bracelets. All I have to do is look down my arm and see three precious Ebenezers.

    YOU also were one of my Ebenezers as you helped make the trip come true. Our family would like to be one of your Ebenezers and support you in the mission field. How do we do that?

    What a great message to share! I love the shower curtain ring, it's so true that the Lord provides!


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