“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)
Life can be terribly complex sometimes. Our illness does not, unfortunately, exempt us from other struggles in life. As we try to manage our illness, we also must manage our finances, help our loved ones who are struggling–such as our children, regardless of their age–maintain our friendships, and try to get to church or our job.
We are left exhausted and wondering when it will all let up. While once, our illness seemed overwhelming, there is now an attitude of looking forward to getting back to the place where our illness is the only obstacle to life, and not just one of many.
I recently read the scripture above and, becoming interested in reading more about this rock called Ebenzer, I did some research.
The second verse of the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” begins with these words: “Here I raise my Ebenezer.” Now, when 22-year-old pastor and hymnist Robert Robinson wrote this in 1870, he didn’t know that our generation would think of Ebeneezer Scrooge of the famous Dicken’s story.
Rather, the word “Ebenezer” comes from the Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer), which simply mean “stone of help.” According to ApologeticPress.org, when Robinson wrote his lyrics, he followed the word Ebenezer with the phrase, “Here by Thy great help I’ve come.”
An Ebenezer is a monumental stone set up to signify the great help that God granted the one raising the stone. In Robinson’s poem, it figuratively meant that the writer—and all who subsequently sing the song—acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings and help in their lives. (Source: ApologeticPress.com )
I have had a taste of how hard life can be. Our circumstances may be dramatically different and I may not know your specific experience, but I am experiencing what it feels like to have the rug pulled out from under you and have satan attempt to rattle your faith and put his claws where they don’t belong.
We are also surrounded by “Ebeneezers,” however, if we look for them. Rethink this word–an Ebeneezer isn’t a grumpy person. An Ebeneezer is “a stone” that shows God’s help.
I don’t know what your stones may be this week, but I know God has placed them around you. Personally, it has encouraged me to start an Ebeneezer rock pile in a big glass jar. I am planning to write an answered prayer on each stone and display it in the jar with joy. Whenever things appear bleak, I can look at my jar and say, as Samuel did, “Thus far, the Lord has helped me.”
Prayer: God, I know You are my help and my strength and yet, You understand how forgetful we human are when it comes to recalling Your faithfulness in caring for us. Help me build my own Ebeneezer as a testament to Your faithfulness, not just for myself, but as a legacy so that my loved ones will see how you took care of me. Amen.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
Do you have an Ebeneezer, something physical (like a scrapbook, a prayer journal, etc.) that reminds you of God’s faithfulness and how He helped you? If not, what kind if Ebeneezer would you consider beginning?
It can be hard to move forward if we don’t remember God ever being faithful. Sometimes we just have to trust Him, and then, as time passes, we have the memories to form our Ebeneezer stone. I love this song, “I Believe” with JJ Heller. This is one of those songs that gives me goosebumps as it shares how we don’t understand a lot of the things God allows us to go through, we don’t see the big picture, but we still choose to believe–no matter what. May it bless you. This is one of those singles I bought an MP3 of to blast on tough days. -Lisa
Over the years, sadly, many if the people who sing “Come, Thou Fount of Many Blessings” have changed the words. The line about raising one’s Ebeneezer has been taken out. The version below is one that keeps the original line in and if you love wildlife, you will be additionally blessed by this song. I recently visited San Diego’s Wild Life Safari and was again reminded if the tiny details God used when creating each one of His creatures. -Lisa