I’m a little stressed right now. My postgrad theology dissertation looms, work is busy, and my diary is full … But I’ve been studying the Bible book of 1 Samuel with a friend and it has provided a helpful reminder:
In chapter 7 after a dangerous battle between God’s people and the Philistines we read: Then Samuel [God’s prophet] 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.” (1 Sam 7:12)
Ebenezer means ‘stone of help’, and whenever the Israelites saw the stone they would remember God’s rescue during this battle. It was a monument to God’s power, steadfast love, and willingness to help his people, and a call for them to trust in him in the future. What a great antidote to fear, worry, and trusting in the wrong things!
Till now the Lord has helped us.
Remembrance of God’s past help and faithfulness helps us to trust him in the present when life is stressful and we don’t necessarily know how things will work out. Satan loves to attack God’s character and goodness, and to fill us with doubt and unbelief. Yet remembering God’s past faithfulness to us is a great shield against this.
Whether it’s spiritual or physical blessings that we recall, it’s so helpful to our hearts and minds to be reminded of what our God is like, and his willingness to help and provide for us despite our sin and failure.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-3
The Bible is filled with concrete promises like this for us to trust in, but I think there is a place for active remembrance like Samuel’s too. When was the last time you sat down and reminded yourself of God’s particular help towards you in the past? Perhaps you keep a journal and can look back at answered prayers and unexpected blessings, or maybe it’s a case of making time to think through months and years gone by to identify the ways that God has helped you so far? You may even have a literal symbol of God’s provision that you can look at.
Let’s not be forgetful and anxious Christians. Till now the Lord has helped us.