But the name ‘Ebenezer’ actually comes from the Old Testament of the Bible, where it was the name given to a large ‘standing stone’, set up after God’s people won a significant victory over their enemies. ( 1 Samuel 7 ) It marked the point to which Samuel and the Israelites pursued the Philistines. A silent but tangible witness, it declared, ‘The Lord has helped us this far.’
As we approach the end of another year and assess our lives to date, perhaps instead of complaining cynically like Scrooge, we should give thanks to God for all His help and never-failing grace.
Life can seem like a battle at times, and we should be grateful that we’re still standing in the aftermath.
We’ve made it this far, thanks be to God. Others didn’t. And that genuinely hurts. But the very fact of the pain of loss deep inside tells us we’re still alive and feeling, with a meaningful role to play.
Of course believers are going the opposite direction. We are on the way up! Our destiny is glory with our Lord and Master, which will be even better than the best we’ve known in our lives until now. Followers of Christ are on the winning side. The Apostle Paul, himself no stranger to hardship, insists in Romans 8 v 37-39:
‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
So far so good! The Lord has graciously got us to this point and is not going to abandon us. As the hymn-writer put it:
‘Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come.
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.’
( John Newton )
We may even feel like celebrating Christmas!