We had our Thanksgiving service today at church. It truly was a worship-filled, celebratory experience.
Part of the service centered around offering up our “Ebenezer.” This term comes from 1 Samuel 7:11-13 in which the Israelites are pursuing the Philistines. Samuel set up a stone and named it Ebenezer saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” (v. 12) Ebenezer literally means “stone of help.”
We had been asked last Sunday to mediate this past week on what had been our Ebenezer over the past year. It could be an object or even a verse of scripture. We were to bring the object or scripture with us today where there was then a time during the service in which we were to approach a table at the altar and lay our Ebenezer down as an offering to the Lord.
My immediate thought was how God had provided for us concerning my husband, Richard’s, job during the past year. Last year, less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, we found out that he would no longer have a job after December 31, 2007. This was a shock to say the least. The employees in his department had packed up their offices, had a final lunch together and prepared to leave for the last time when they were told at the 11th hour that it had been decided they would be kept until June 30, 2008. Reprieve No. 1.
Richard and his co-workers drifted along for several months with this knowledge hanging over their heads but trying to carry on as if it was business as usual. Co-workers left for other jobs. He was sending out resumes. Add to this the fact that we had discovered he would most likely see a significant reduction in his salary should he find a new job.
June 30th loomed ever closer and still things had not changed. It was a couple of weeks before the deadline, and FINALLY, the employees who were still there were told they were being kept permanently. Reprieve No. 2.
While we were thankful Richard was still employed, things were tough nonetheless. The job he had always done was no more. He was very unhappy with the direction his duties had taken and continued to search for a position with another company.
Finally, my piano teacher suggested Richard send his resume to her husband who could forward it on to the right people. I will spare you the details, but it was such a God-thing. Richard was not only offered a job with this company doing the job he had always done, but he didn’t have to take a pay-cut either! The benefits were comparable, and the company would even recognize his time of service with his previous employer. So, after one year with the new company, he will even be back to the same amount of vacation he had when he left his old company! Reprieve No. 3.
This is, obviously, a big way in which God has helped and provided for us over the past year. There are so many others, but for the sake of the service today, this was certainly a biggie.
I’m so thankful to God. He gave me such peace during the whole entire situation. I didn’t know how God was going to work things out, but I knew that He would. I’m not just thankful for how He provided; I am thankful for the way He made His presence known to me in the midst of a difficult and trying time.
And in case you were wondering, my Ebenezer was a computer mouse. How about you? What has God done for you over the past year, and what would you use to represent your “stone of help?”