July 25, 2021
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12)
Why does it always seem like we remember all the bad things that happen to us, but the good things shrink in our memory? Perhaps it’s part of our survival instinct – we remember the things that threaten us so that we can avoid them in the future. But just because our bodies compel us to retain the bad, we need to be careful not to allow the forces in this world that want to pull us away from God to corrupt our prudent caution stemming from life experience into sinful despair. It is a spiritual discipline, then, for us as Christians to remember to equally hold in our hearts and minds those places where we see and experience the goodness of God in the world and in our lives.
One of the ways is to make aides for ourselves to help us remember those times when God has been at work. In the story of the Prophet Samuel, he chooses to set up a stone so that anyone who sees will remember this occasion when the Lord provided for them when threatened by hostile forces. Many Christians around the world use things like crosses, icons, and prayer beads to focus their devotions and remember those times of incredible divine intervention – like the events in the life of Jesus, the miracles of the saints, and the words that Christ taught us to pray.
But I challenge each of you – each of us – this week to think about creating tangible records of the everyday places where God provides for us. Maybe it’s setting up a rock like Samuel, or writing in a journal, or creating some piece of art. And this is a true discipline because, as we know, remembering God’s actions is not our instinct and creating anything takes work. But it is worth it. Because God is at work, and we have the promise of the resurrection that God’s goodness will ultimately win. So, let’s raise our stones with Samuel. Let’s remember.