We have a new padlock on the gate to our church building in downtown Birmingham. The old one was somehow misplaced, and that, in large part, was what led to our 24’ trailer getting stolen just two days before we were set to launch services in our new facility. That may not seem like such a big deal (that’s what insurance is for, right?), but the problem was that all of our sound and kids equipment had yet to be moved into the building from said trailer, meaning that we had less than 48 hours to come up with a lot of stuff or launch Sunday was a no-go!
Needless to say, we freaked out! The timing of this heist was rather impeccable. Couldn’t it at least have happened on a Monday?! In weak faith, we began to pray, and over the next 30 hours, we watched God show up big time! In that span of time we had so much equipment donated and loaned-out to us that we actually had to tell folks to stop bringing stuff. The launch of our new facility that Sunday was an amazing day of worship!
Well, it’s been almost a year since that crazy weekend, and honestly, I hardly ever think about it. @@It’s crazy how quickly we forget the Lord’s provision, isn’t it?@@ I can’t tell you how many occasions there have been in my life when I’ve experienced God coming through in a big way, only soon to forget, and I’m right back in panic mode the very next time I’m facing an issue.
I think that is why God kept telling the people of Israel over, and over, and over again in the book of Deuteronomy to remember Him when they made it into Canaan. He knew what I’ve found to be oh-so-true in my life: that we are forgetful people. We are prone to lose sight of the Lord: of his goodness, his power, and his faithfulness.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to live in the spin cycle of forgetting the Lord, falling into sin, or freaking out every time we face a trial. When God gave Israel victory in battle over the Philistines, Samuel erected a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. The stone was a visual reminder of God’s power and provision. He named it Ebenezer, which means, “stone of help.” It marked the spot where the enemy had been routed and God had come through.
I need ebenezers in my life: tangible reminders of God’s help and provision. As I mentioned, we have a new padlock on the gate to our church building; the code to get inside is the date of “the event.” We intentionally memorialized the day our trailer was stolen as a way to be reminded of God’s goodness, so that the next time something goes missing, or something breaks, or whatever the crisis is that is leading us to freak out, we’ll remember that God is our help. As Samuel reminded Israel, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”