This morning I received a text message from a friend of mine. He needed to talk. He has struggled along some of the same lines as I have. It is my desire to encourage him. I was going through my morning ablutions when I received his message. I tried to think on what I could say to him to encourage him. I was taking my sleep shirt off when I saw the patchwork of scars on my stomach and chest from multiple surgeries, a couple of which have kept me alive. My mind went to the time when Samuel named a rock Ebenezer, meaning “Rock or stone of help.” The rock was to remind people that “hither by Thy help I’ve come.” Is that not ever true for me? My Ebenezer is a not a rock, rather it is my body. G-d has shown His faithfulness to me in more ways than just health, however, my scars are very poignant, visual reminders.
My friend struggles with the faithfulness of G-d in the midst of struggles and trials. I’ve been there and I am sure you have too. I called him back and I shared with him that we both have been drug-free for over a decade. We are both in good relationships and have decent jobs. I asked him to name one struggle he has been through that he has not come out of. Of course, he couldn’t name one. Neither can I. I have been in some very dark and ugly places but I am not stuck in any of them. I came out of them better than I went in and with compassion for those who face similar struggles.
I told my friend what my reminders are when I am prone to forget that “Hither by Thy help I’ve come.” I asked him what his Ebenezer was. He replied the coin in his pocket that came from the recovery program he participates in. I think he got it. I know I do.
We all face challenges. None of us go through life without some bumps and bruises, some of our own choosing and others seemingly come out of nowhere. Whatever you are going through, choose to know you are going “through” it. It’s not going to last forever. Be lifted up and encouraged. Be strong and stay the course. The same G-d that created you, sustains you. And when you feel like all hope is lost, pull out your Ebenezer and remember there’s never been a victory without fighting, there has never been growth without effort and there’s never been a time that G-d has not been faithful. Whatever your Ebenezer is, pull it out, if only mentally and thank G-d for His faithfulness in bringing you through your trials and being with you on your journey.