Faith, Life

Ebenezers – Preparing for Things to Get Tough

Let’s face it friends, things get tough. Life happens and sometimes our best laid plans are blown around like the tumbleweeds on the Colorado prairie.

I know. I’ve been there. When the strong winds of trouble blow through scrambling and tossing my life, fear creeps in. Often as these times come upon me, I get caught up in the pain of the current problems and forget all the good that is in my life.

As Christians, we’re not promised a life of ease. We’re promised love, redemption, and eternal life.  So what are we to do when the ill winds ravage our lives?

One of the first things I learned from the Bible after I became a Christian, was from Joshua. In Chapter 7, the Israelites are turning back to the Lord, but as they are the Philistines draw near intent on battling the Israelites. The Lord thundered from the sky which got the Philistines all discombobulated. The Israelites pursued and were able to beat them.

Joshua took made a stack of stones and called it Ebenezer saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

 

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I have loved this passage for a couple of reasons. First of all it reminds me of the protection of the Lord. If we turn our hearts and lives to Him, he will help us through the hard places in our life.

The second reason I love this passage is the idea of Ebenezers. The intentional taking account of the things the Lord has done for us. When the waves of life threaten to overwhelm me, I pull out my Ebenezers and remember all the times God has helped me.

So, how do you create your Ebenezers? I’ve found that having something tangible is the best way for me. Without something there to remind me, it is easy to listen to the lies that come at me during these times.  You know the ones I’m talking about. The voices that tell you you’re not good enough. That you’re alone and life will never get better. Those lies. Ebenezers remind us what is true about the Lord.

An Ebenezer is anything you choose that will be a physical reminder of what the Lord has done for you. A friend of mine keeps a shadow box with little compartments where she places items that had significance to the times the Lord had helped her. I have other friends who keep these written in a journal.

Personally, I’ve kept my Ebenezers in a number of ways. I do log them in my journal, but I tend to find things that I keep around me. For instance, on my desk I have a red heart stone paperweight. This Ebenezer is to remind me of a particularly tough job situation that God brought me through.  Another is a penny with a heart cut out of the middle that I keep on my keychain. Or the stuffed dog I purchased in a gift shop during a retreat that I left with peace in my heart. Guess what his name is!?! Yup, Ebenezer.

The thing with Ebenezers is that there’s no right or wrong way to keep them. Whatever works for you is the best way. The important thing is to have them for those times when you just need a physical reminder that thus far the Lord has helped you.

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