This is not one of my more artistic efforts, and it wasn't designed to impress. As a matter of fact I did it in a hurry with no intention of ever showing to anyone. I remember the day very well, even though it was spent in the same way as so many that came before and after - in the studio and frame shop. I don't even remember what I was working on, but I do remember the date: November 11, 2005. That morning I had been reading in 1 Samuel about the Israelites and the Philistines. The Israelites had gathered in a place called Mizpah for a time of repentance and worship and when their enemies, the Philistines, heard of it they gathered their forces to attack. The people cried out to the Lord and He answered them, thundering from Heaven and throwing the enemy into confusion so that they were defeated by Israel. Then Samuel, Israel's priest, set up a stone at Mizpah and called its name "Ebenezer," because he said "the Lord has brought us this far."
For some reason, I could not get that story out of my mind. Though I hadn't battled any actual Philistines at that time, there were some formidable enemies that threatened me - things like health concerns, family worries, financial problems. And I realized that, yes, "God had brought us this far," and that I needed a tangible reminder of that, something I could see every day. Of course! I needed an Ebenezer stone of my own. At the end of the day, when I finally decided it was no longer possible to put off this nagging feeling, I found a rock in the garden, brought it in, and painted on it the words from the book of 1Samuel. I set it on the filing cabinet in our studio where I could see it every day, but didn't dream how soon I would need its message.
The following day, a rare November tornado hit our town. Usually here in Iowa they reserve their terror for the summer months. Because of modern technology, we were given just enough warning to get everyone into the basement, although it had been difficult to convince my then 95 year-old father that he couldn't stay and watch it through the big picture window in his room. Larry had gone back to get Barney the border collie who refused to go down the stairs by himself, so he had heard the "freight train" sound before I did. He looked at me and said, "We are going to lose the house." It was at that moment that I remembered the rock sitting in our studio. and a feeling of peace came over me. I thought, well we would have to start over. People do, Or if the house came crashing in on us, as they sometimes do, well, then we would be in Heaven and none of this would matter. Of, course. God had brought us this far, we could trust Him with the rest.
The storm had come up our street but then veered off into a nearby field, wrecking havoc where it traveled, and causing devastation in a couple of different areas of town. But there were no deaths and, as far as I knew, no really serious injuries. We ended up with lots of debris and the loss of a couple of pine trees at our place. Some people lost so much more, and their lives were changed forever, but at least they still had their lives, In the light of recent events in many parts of the country, it was not that significant, but at the time it was the end of the world.
Ebenezer Stone still sits on the filing cabinet but over the years it has become one of those things that is there, but I just don't actually see it, like background music or a seldom used piece of furniture. Until one day last week when suddenly its message jumped up at me and I remembered. Once again, in the middle of different kind of "storm," I am reminded that God has brought us this far and he will not let us down now. If you haven't already discovered this, there will always be storms of one kind or another, debris to dodge or Philistines to defeat. If you aren't "going through" something right now, you will be soon. It is a fact of life But for me at least, there is comfort in knowing that He is right there with me and He will always bring me through. Til the next storm.
I once read something that was attributed to Mother Theresa. She said, "I know that God promises not to give you any more than you can handle. I just wish sometimes He wouldn't trust me so much."
Be of good cheer, He will always bring us through.