"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
Ebenezer means "stone of help." The large stone was placed upright as a symbol of remembrance in order that every time an Israelite would see it, they would be reminded of what the Lord had done. In essence it proclaimed...keep trusting.
The message at church on Sunday was titled "Living with a Death Clock." I know, sounds morbid....but seriously, it is so good to remember that I am going to die. To be reminded that I can live my life for me, or I can live for a Kingdom of love that is going to last forever.
But death isn't my Ebenezer (cause I haven't actually experienced it yet...just in case you were wondering). However, there should be like 187,010,985ish vertical rocks sticking out of the ground in places that I have stood, laughed, slept, ate, camped, knelt, wept, failed, obeyed, hurt, been healed, etc. There were big moments and there were lots and lots of little ones, but His faithfulness and love has never changed with each passing breath.
There has always been an ache in my heart for the plight of those in poverty, particularly in Africa. I remember the last couple months of 2009 I had this deep, unrelenting burden in my heart like I had never ever felt before. I began emailing and pursuing ministries in Uganda and Ethiopia. Nothing was happening at all, nothing. In fact, I felt as if I was trying to make something happen. I had no peace about pursuing these countries but I thought, "God, You have called me to go to Africa and so I am going to make it happen." In mid-December I gave up trying to make plans and was quite confused, but the burden never left.
Then the earthquake happened. I can't describe to you how it tore me up...so I won't try. All I know is that I heard the Lord whisper, "This is why I have been burdening you." I could barely get myself to function for a few weeks after the earthquake. All that was my life now seemed incredibly pointless compared to the suffering the people of Haiti were facing.
After that little baby whisper from the Lord, my heart felt at peace about pursuing going to Haiti that summer. I know, I know...deep burden and peace at the same time doesn't make sense...but it happened, I swear. Because of its geographical location thousands upon thousands of people were wanting to get into to Haiti to help (or steal children or whatever). The orgs down there were flipping SWAMPED with people parading as heroes (I'm not above this sarcastic statement).
I was some random college kid who had never been to Haiti, didn't know the language and had nearly zilch connections there. I am proud to say that I knew that Haiti existed before the earthquake. However, I am not proud to say I never EVER considered it. HELLO...I was called to Africa!!! Wayyyy more legit.
I'll make a DANG LONG STORY short. I ended up living in Haiti for three months that summer at a little organization I didn't know existed six months before. Now I am on freaking staff at that little organization!!!
Okay so, there's my Ebenezer. Just one story out of many.
And that's the thing about facing the fact of death. It makes me want to LIVE, not just stay in a place of safety and comfort out of fear. I am being plucked out of a life of mediocrity and regret! Praise the Lord God Almighty!!
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.