Monday, October 17

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, "Thus far has the Lord helped us." --1st Samuel 7:12

The second verse of the song "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" always seemed a bit strange to me. Until this weekend, I had no idea what an Ebenezer was (other than that crabby guy in Dickens' A Christmas Carol). Literally translated, Ebenezer means 'stone of help.' An Ebenezer is set up as a visible monument, a marker to indicate a location where something significant has been done by God on behalf of His people. In today's times it could be compared to the markers seen on buildings or in state parks that indicate historical points of interest.

Although I have never actually set up a monument in tribute to God's actions on my behalf, there are parts of my physical appearance that remind me every day of His provision for me. Across my abdomen I have a horizontal scar about 10 inches in length. This scar is the result of a surgery I had as an infant to correct an intestinal problem that was one of the complications of cystic fibrosis. For more than two decades, the Lord has helped me and sustained me as He has given me the strength I need to live with such a condition.

My husband has a similar type of Ebenezer. Five years ago he was nearly killed in a severe car accident. In order to treat his internal injuries, the trauma team had to perform emergency surgery. The resulting scar is almost a foot in length and runs approximately from his ribcage to his navel. God preserved my husband's life during that time; He has blessed us tremendously in the years since then. The accident itself is not a fond memory, but the things that God has done in our relationship as a result are absolutely wonderful.

These may not be the typical examples of Ebenezers as depicted in the Old Testament, or even in the song "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," but for us our scars remind us of God's awesome power and the ways He preserves His children. Even more importantly, our surgical scars remind us that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ also bears physical evidence of the incredible hardship and pain that he endured on the cross on our behalf. I am humbled daily by that realization.

I am thankful for these reminders that God has given us, and I am glad that I never need to look very far for an example of His mercy.

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