We Need Reminders of God’s Faithfulness

Reminders of God's Faithfulness | Ebenezer

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

Lately, I’ve felt far from God. Just disconnected and removed. I can’t pinpoint an actual event that sparked it, but I will say in the “departments” of money, budget, job growth/security, church life, and family members, etc., I haven’t known what God’s been up to for many years.

In 2010, our church closed, which was devastating to us. To this day, we mourn its loss. In 2012, my mother died—a painful absence which I feel every single day. I hate thinking I’ll be having to do life without her for 40ish more years.

And money? Sigh. We have had our challenges with too little income and too much outgo. We have struggled to keep the bills paid and everything else running smoothly. I have likened it to our wanderings in the wilderness. We didn’t like it but we knew God’s purposes had our good as their end result. We are continually comforted by the Heidelberg Catechism Question & Answer #1 (emphasis mine):

What is thy only comfort in life and death?

That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

And then last summer, Chris quit his job to take another job, which was presented as a terrific opportunity AND a substantial salary increase. Oh, we were thrilled! I created our new monthly budget with the new income penciled in weeks before Chris’ last day.

Too bad the job wasn’t real. That’s right. He received a forged offer letter (you can read the whole story here). So, we were without insurance and income for several months.

Cue the bitterness and anger at God. The disbelief, the numbness. Sometimes, of course, my faith was buoyed because when you find yourself at your most dependent and vulnerable, all you can do is rely on God.

But I had those whiny-tail moments for sure. And I think I get even more whiny when I look back on the whole experience. Add in the other trials and losses of the last few years, and I start to border on rage.

Instead of remembering God’s grace during that time, I’m usually focused on what we should/should not have done and wondering how God could have allowed that to happen.

So when a woman in my Bible study group asked us to think of a time when God surprised us with provision and/or allowing us to glimpse his love for us in a very concrete way, at first I was like, “Huh? God is way far away from me. God cares about the big stuff—the tsunamis, cancer, and world peace. He doesn’t care about me and my budget, my husband’s job, or how we’re going to pay for orthodontics.”

And then it HIT me—just like that. The Holy Spirit’s nudge: The $1000 check???? he said.

And so I told this story to my Bible study group.

One Saturday, I was making our budget for the week. We were trying to decide which bills were most important, when they were due, and how much the total would be. I scribbled on a piece of paper, “We need $1017 this week.” And my mind starting turning over. How do we make $1000 in a week?

About that time, my husband called out, “Hey! I’m going to the mailbox.”

In a few minutes, he returned and handed me an envelope with a return address we didn’t immediately recognize. “We got a card, it looks like. Wonder who it’s from?”

We opened it to find a sweet card and a check for $1000 from my aunt and cousins.

I started shaking a little bit and crying too. It took my breath away to see God’s meeting our specific need so tangibly and so much to the point.

“Honey. I just wrote on a piece of paper that we needed $1017 for bills this week,” I told my husband, not really believing it myself.

We both cried and called the kids to tell them God’s good gift.

I realized after I shared that story how important Ebenezers are in our life. We need reminders. Why? Because we forget. Practicing our faith: the weekly rituals of worship and daily remembrances of God’s goodness are not just helpful to our spiritual growth. They are integral to our health as Christians.

Photo Credit: catb – via Compfight cc