In my personal writing files, I have all sorts of little notes with topics I’d love to write about. I include memory triggers and thoughts, but none of them are fleshed out. Yet, so many times as I sit down to write, I read through the old thoughts intending to utilize them, only to end up writing something new. The new might be inspired by the old, but it’s never quite a fleshing out of those old thoughts.
Eventually, I want to go back and flesh out those old thoughts. But as I sit down today and start from scratch yet again, I’m reminded why it’s so important for me to jot down those thoughts, even if I never use them to create a blog post, article, or even a book chapter (maybe someday!).
Those thoughts are my Ebenezers.
The Bible is replete with remembrances. The Israelites are continually pointed back to their origins and the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even in the New Testament, the majority of Stephen’s sermon as he is on trial before the Jewish leaders recalls the history of Israel (Acts 7). Remembrance of the work of God in this world is critical to our growth. We cannot go forward if we do not build on what brought us here in the first place.
And that is why, in 1 Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel set up a stone and named it Ebenezer. He knew the people needed a tangible reminder of God’s work among them, not only His historical work of their exodus from Egypt and early settlement in the land of promise, but also of His recent work in redeeming them after they had turned from Him yet again.
Scripture is my solid foundation. It is the history that I must know and constantly learn more about in order to grow. But, my Ebenezers are my personal experiences. They are my “thus far the Lord has helped ME” reminders. They are personal.
But I cannot stop there.
“Thus far” indicates that this is not the end. God wants to take me further. Where I have been is critical, for all of my past experiences are critical building blocks of my faith. And I need to remember and revisit those lessons. I need to keep them in my heart and mind and even go back and dust them off and clean them up now and then to make sure those lower blocks are not decaying as I try to build on top of them.
But, if I only reminisce on and flesh out my Ebenezers, then I am effectively preventing any new growth. I’m keeping the lower blocks clean and fresh, but never adding to them. That causes me to transfer my focus to the Ebenezers themselves and away from the Lord who has brought me to each and every point.
So, today, I am enjoying going back and reading through some of those Ebenezers. And, at some point, I’ll probably flesh them out and share them, little by little. But for today, I’m building a new block. I’m setting a new stone. I’m thanking the Lord for His faithfulness to bring me even further, past my last Ebenezer and to my current one.
Thus far the Lord has helped me. And, oh how beautiful to know that He will not stop here!