Saturday, November 1, 2014
When we got married, we had the honor of having Josh's dad speak at our wedding. He said a lot of great things that day that still have an impact on us. One of the things he spoke of were the Israelites and a custom they had throughout history of building alters when God had done a great work in their nation. It was like setting up memorials to intentionally remember and speak of and pass on how it was that God showed them favor, helped them, blessed them, saved them, etc. typically in situations where they were facing certain defeat. You can read this in 1 Samuel 7:5-13 where Samuel, Israel's judge at the time, placed a large stone between two towns where God was supernaturally causing them to be victorious over their enemies. Samuel named that stone, Ebenezer-"the stone of help". And also in Joshua chapters 4 and 5, where Joshua was leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. God, again, supernaturally intervened by causing the Jordan river to dry up so that His people could cross over and He then went to battle for them defeating their enemies while leading them to a place of promise and rest. After all the Israelites crossed over safely, the Lord commanded one man from each tribe of Israel to take a stone from the Jordan and pile them up to build a memorial so that their children's children's children could see it, ask about it and remember the glory of the Lord. Josh's dad encouraged us to build these kinds of alters in our new life together.
I don't know if you have ever read my previous post, Living on Miracles, but if you haven't I would encourage you to do so (http://heidi-alongtheway.blogspot.com/2012/01/living-on-miracles.html). Long story short, there was a 2-year time period where Josh and I went through some serious financial struggles after I quit my full-time job to work part-time for our church/stay home with our daughter and where Josh was working as an independent contractor at a law firm. It was a time where I had to commit to knowing God is good when I didn't feel like God is good. It was a time where it was hard to see beyond the current circumstances to believe for anything different. We sometimes felt forgotten by God. Hopeless even.
But God truly is good. And on November 1st, 2012 Josh was offered full-time employment at the law firm. A very painful season came to a close. Just like that. Next payday we were able to start paying rent again and even buy our own food. I still remember how it took some time for that guilty/anxious feeling to subside when I would go to the store for groceries. But eventually it did.
I can tell you now that we still have times when we are paying last month's bills with this month's pay check, but that doesn't really shake me. I know we have walked the trenches of much greater despair and have been pulled right out into a place of promise and rest. That rest being this...that I know God is good.
So, on November 1st each year we have a feast. We talk about what God did, and how he rescued us from certain defeat. We bless another family with a meal, letting them know we want to pass on the generosity given to us. And we pray together as a family. Giving God glory for what He has done in our past, is doing in our present, and is going to do in our future. This is our way of remembering our Ebenezer; of setting up our 12 stones.
Although it may not be a holiday in your house today, I encourage you to remember the faithfulness of God in your life. And know that He is good. And when you come through whatever it is your going through, grab a stone and tell someone about it. :)
P.S. If you are facing certain defeat in your life right now, check out the link below (Come To Me, Bethel). The lyrics in this song truly saw me through some dark days. To this day, it makes me cry.