Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” – 1 Samuel 7:12 (NLT)
“Come Thou Fount” is my favorite hymn of all time. When I meet it’s author in heaven, I plan to give him a total fist bump and “I feel you, dude,” because I relate to every single word.
There are two lines in particular that always stand out. The first is “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. prone to leave the God I love.” because even with all of my talk about Jesus, I am prone to wander. I’m so easily distracted by high stress demands of others or shiny objects that offer temporary relief it’s not even funny.
The other line is the one that’s always seemed weird to me. “Here I raise my Ebenezer, here by thy good grace I’ve come.” For years I sang that in church and memorized it just because it’s part of a hymn I love, but I didn’t actually know what it means. I assumed it was a weird 1700s reference and kept it moving.
One day in church our pastor’s wife paused singing long enough to explain. In the book of 1 Samuel we read about a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. The Israelites asked Samuel to cry out to the Lord to help them, and He heard their prayers. The Israelites defeated the Philistines, and Samuel placed a large rock at that place, naming it Ebenezer, which means the stone of help, so they would always remember how God had helped them.
Raising our Ebenezer is an act of praise. It’s an act of gratitude and worship and remembering that no matter what we’ve been through we didn’t get here alone. We were led, held, helped, and carried by the God whose grace never runs dry.
God has gotten me through more things than I can even remember – good things, hard things, fun things, and really scary things. And while one perspective might be why did He allow me to go through some of those things in the first place (this was the perspective I had for most of my life) the other is that this world promises pain, hardship, and troubles. Even Jesus warned us of that. But God continues to love me and lead me through every single one of them. He calls me beloved and hides me under His wing.
I was reminded of this the other day when the hubster and I carried heavy groceries four blocks home and four flights of stairs up in nearly 100 degree heat only to realize that we left his ice cream in the back seat. The hubster was already done for since he’d carried the heavier load, so I headed back out – four flights down, four blocks to the car, four more blocks home, and four flights up.
While I was walking I was overwhelmed with awe for what God is doing. My body has been through more than some bodies go through in their entire lives. It’s been through years of illness, hospitals, medications, procedures, and trauma. And still God keeps me going. He keeps my body moving, twelve blocks total, eight flights of stairs, all in 95 degree heat.
Someday I’ll see Jesus in heaven and I’ll have a perfect body. This one will be nothing but a memory. But for now God blesses it, even through the pain, suffering, and things it’s gone through.
And that is nothing short of a miracle. That is the grace of God. That is worth raising an Ebenezer.
Original photo of Smiling Young Woman by Ambro from freedigitalphotos.net. Adapted by Stephanie Oh.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 (NLT)
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
– Psalm 91:4 (NLT)
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
from murderous enemies who surround me.
– Psalm 17:8-9 (NLT)
What comes to your mind when you think of God’s help? Do you have a favorite Psalm?
P.S. more good stuff
Courtney shared her thoughts on “Come Thou Fount” on her blog, Growing is Beautiful.