Here he raised his Ebenezer.

September 28, 2009

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12)

Was that the stone? He brushed the dust from his lashes with the back of his hand.  It was much smaller than he had expected.  He pulled a browning map from his satchel and examined it carefully.  He squinted, as if squinting would help him decipher Grandpa’s scrawled writing.  Time had begun to blur some of the writing, but according to all of Grandpa’s notes, this had to be the stone.

Homely and small, but tremendous in significance.  He was beginning to find that many things in life were like that.

Gazing now at Ebenezer, he could almost hear Grandpa’s voice, wavering with age but still strong, recounting the story of old, “My boy, thousands of our men fell in battle against the Philistines at Ebenezer!  The ark of God was also captured there, and in the end, all our mighty men took to their heels and fled to their homes!  Fear and grief and bitterness gripped us for some time.  But by and by, we repented and Samuel prayed.  Boy, how — he — prayed!  And God delivered!”

Grandpa would then pause, knead his brow with his forefinger and thumb, and say in a low voice, “Boy, Ebenezer was the place of bitter defeat, but as the LORD lives, Ebenezer later marked the place of victory.”

And his own boyish voice would ask, “But Grandpa?  How ’bout today?  Does God still help us today?”

Grandpa’s voice always rumbled then with explosive conviction, “My boy, yes!  As the LORD lives, yes!”

Tears fell as he suddenly missed Grandpa.  It was a year since Grandpa was buried.  Home was exceedingly difficult, and though he had turned 15 just a few months ago, he still wished he could hide in Grandpa’s firm grasp.  The tears fell more swiftly and freely, hitting the ground with light thuds.  He felt as though his heart would break under its burden.

But as he looked on Ebenezer, that “stone of help,” he remembered Grandpa’s words.

“My boy, yes!  As the LORD lives, yes!”


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