"Here I raise my ebenezer..." We sing this in the old hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." But what does it mean? An ebenezer is sort of a makeshift memorial. Sojourners in biblical times would find a rock, lift it over their heads to God, and then half bury it in the ground along a path. It was used both as a symbol of faith and a plea for mercy. Perhaps a sojourner had escaped a dangerous storm along the journey and wanted to thank God for His protection. Perhaps she knew she was entering into enemy territory and was seeking safe deliverance. In any case, the stones were left as reminders, not just for the travelers themselves but for those who would come behind them and see the stones along the road as evidence of God’s faithfulness.
An old friend once told me, when I said I didn't have enough faith to see in the dark, that he would have faith for me. Sometimes our suffering is just too much to believe that a seemingly far-away God feels our pain and will make good of it. But if we can bring it a step closer... and trust in the faith of people we can see... then maybe we can let them do the heavy faith lifting for us in our darkest hour. I know it can be hard to imagine how God is going to use your pain for anything good down the road. Sometimes the best we can do is find hope in the past pain of others... and trust that if they made it out of the darkness, we will, too.
I made it out, friend. So will you.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)