Why Raising Ebenezer?
Updated: May 16, 2019
Why Raising Ebenezer?
Ebenezer isn’t a word used much in America, except for our cultural touchpoint of a miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Yet in different parts of Africa children are often lovingly given the name Ebenezer.
What does Ebenezer even mean, and why would we name our blog that?
In Hebrew, Ebenezer means ‘a rock or stone of help’.
From 1 Samuel 7, verse 12 “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer, for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”
This stone was a physical reminder, a setting down of rock and a visual touchpoint to rehearse the faithfulness God had shown to Samuel and his people.
Why was Samuel so grateful? What had he just experienced?
But God’s story is still going, and his Spirit is still moving through average people like us. You and me. Yet how often do we stop to put down our own Ebenezers? To proclaim, his goodness showed up here. His tenderness. Mercy. Strength.
Mike and I meet every Wednesday night with a group of friends and we talk about life. The purpose is to process what we experience through a Jesus-oriented lens, and we start with accounts of our last week. We talk about “grace gone wild”, which is our ridiculous way to say 'where God showed up'. It has become a spiritual rhythm to my week, where I get to relax and be reminded by others of the creative ways in which God cares.
Sometimes, it can also feel like pulling out an unused bike from the garage. Dust it off. Move my leg up and around into that awkward position it hasn’t quite been in for awhile. Sit down in that familiar seat. Start pedaling, pushing through the messed up gears that haven’t found their rhythm yet. But before I know it, I’m back. Riding. Feeling the wind on my face, looking at the world from a different perspective.
I can see that with my friends too. When their week just sucked. When they’re still in the midst of that hard thing. When it isn’t going to get better any sooner because the diagnosis will not go away. Or my postpartum depression has me in a pit of tears. Or she lost her job, again. We pull out our bikes together. We dust them off. We sit on the seats to go out for a ride. To look for God again. We do it together because left to ourselves we are prone to forget. To ride too fast. To focus only on the pedaling. So we point him out.
See him there… and there… and there! We dismount and each grab a rock, and raise our Ebenezers. These stones of help. Pillars of beauty.
But lest this sound too contained, I am aware God is not that. His stories are the wildest, often convoluted, unexpected and uncomfortable. Filled with people who aren’t perfect. Who mess up and are clueless. This blog is the Forrest Family's virtual Ebenezer. A place where we will be authentically sharing story by story. Rock upon rock.
We build this to share, but also to remember. Thanks for being a part of this with us!
If you would like to hear Mike's sermon from 2018 about Ebenezers, listen here: