SEARCH­ING FOR EBENEZER

Activated - - NEWS - By Rosane Pereira Rosane Pereira is an English teacher and writer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a mem­ber of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional.

To­ward the end of last year, I was haunted by the word “Ebenezer.” It all be­gan when I heard it on a Chris­tian pod­cast, but the speaker didn’t clar­ify what it meant. The word stayed in the back of my mind for days, and I won­dered where I’d heard it be­fore. My chil­dren iden­ti­fied it as the un­usual first name of the Scrooge char­ac­ter in Charles Dick­ens’ fa­mous novel, A Christ­mas Carol, but that wasn’t the Ebenezer I was look­ing for.

The mys­te­ri­ous “Ebenezer” popped up again when I vis­ited my daugh­ter dur­ing the hol­i­days. There it was, writ­ten in bold let­ters above the en­trance to a new shop in the vil­lage square. “Ebenezer” seemed to be ap­pear­ing all around me, but who was he?

1. Psalm 121:1–2 NLV

The an­swer came when I was lis­ten­ing to another in­spi­ra­tional au­dio. Out of the blue, the speaker men­tioned the word, and also gave a Bi­ble ref­er­ence: 1 Sa­muel chap­ter 7. I looked it up right away and it turns out that in the pas­sage, the prophet Sa­muel puts a rock be­tween two places, Miz­pah and Shen, af­ter his peo­ple had won a great bat­tle against their en­e­mies. This rock was named—you’ve guessed it—Ebenezer, mean­ing “the stone of help,” and was set up in ac­knowl­edg­ment of and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for God’s as­sis­tance. And so it turns out that “Ebenezer” wasn’t a “who” but a “what.”

I can pic­ture my­self sit­ting on top of that big rock. On one side, the year that has just ended, with all of its ob­sta­cles and tri­als and vic­to­ries and joys. I look back from my van­tage point and my heart fills with praise.

On the other side, the new year, full of mys­ter­ies yet to un­fold. I’m filled with an­tic­i­pa­tion. If God has al­ways come through for me in the past, surely He will in the fu­ture too!

This year, ev­ery time a sor­row or dif­fi­culty comes my way, I will strive to rely on Ebenezer, the stone of help and the rock of hope. I will make a res­o­lu­tion to face this new year with the ex­pec­ta­tion that the fu­ture is as bright as the prom­ises of God! In the words of David, “I will lift up my eyes to the moun­tains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”

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