I love dates: anniversaries, birthdays, important things in my life and friends’ lives. I can rattle off milestones like nobody’s business. Just don’t ask me what I was thinking ten minutes ago because I have no clue.
So this last Sunday, as I was worshiping, a date hit me. You see, I started working at our church three weeks ago, part-time, because they needed someone to fill in the gap. Our administrative assistant left and she did all the accounting. I’m a CPA, and sometimes miss the fun of “I know exactly what account each of those journal entries goes to” (I never said I wasn’t a nerd); so when I heard Beki was leaving, I offered to work. Eric is home for the summer, and we are getting closer and closer to bringing Judah home.
When you work in the ‘church-world,’ you live by Sunday dates. I had made the worship guide; I knew what the sermon would be covering. So as I’m singing and praising God, I remembered, this is the week of July 2nd. That date reminds me of many parts of my life. It’s a friend from both high school and college’s birthday. My friend from high school lives in Europe and was a foreign exchange student my senior year. We still keep in touch 16 years later and I love her dearly.
Last year on July 2nd, on this side of the world, we had plans to meet my sister and my nephew, at the movies. She was coming all the way up here–we live an hour apart–and I almost cancelled on her, thinking that packing for our upcoming trip was more important. Turns out, I’m so glad I didn’t cancel because she revealed to me that I was going to be an aunt again!
Yet, and I wouldn’t know until April 28th of 2014, last year on that same date my son’s first mom was passing away. I have a picture of her on that day, which in international adoption, I know is a treasure. I have the death certificate, and picture of her burial. These will be Ebenezer stones in his life. As excited as we are to bring him home and knit him into the family that God has created for him, we grieve the things he had to experience in his first 3.5 years without us.
As I was considering these events in his life, these Ebenezers, I was trying to remember which passage of the bible the ebenezer stone was from. A few key strokes on biblegateway.com and I had my reminder: 1 Samuel 7. I read the verses around verse 12, and then I had a prompting to read the whole chapter. And it was such a good reminder that our God is a God in the details of our lives. As a accountant with a bent towards details, I love that about Him.
So as I begin reading on the screen verse 1, I see it: Eleazar. That is our son’s given name. I think the Lord is using all of this waiting to set up and remind me of past Ebenezer stones in my life as well as his life.
In the story of Samuel, 1 Samuel 7, God thunders down and protects Israel from the Philistines.
Then Samuel 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 Samuel 7:12
Last Sunday in our bible study class, we were studying the Sermon on the Mount, about worry. So just after hearing about Jesus telling us we are worth more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field; and to not worry, I begin.
My hands are raised, I’m praising my Father when this date hits me: followed shortly by a list running through my head.
What if we don’t bond well?
What if I’m not strong enough to do this?
What if he misses his mom so much that he doesn’t want to be a part of our family?
What if….what if…..what if……
I’m calling out to God in both song and prayer in my mind. Just like Samuel those thousands of years ago….
And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.
1 Samuel 7:9b
And just like Samuel, the Lord answered me, this time immediately. The words leaving my mouth as this was going on were things like:
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
God slowly started reigning down peace that can only come from Him that day. He whispered into my heart: “If you are singing these words, why don’t you believe them? I called you to this for my glory and your good. Trust me.”
And isn’t that the thing? I want to follow God, and be obedient, so then why would I doubt that He is trustworthy.
I want to be like Samuel. I want to be like Sarah.
she considered him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11b
And all I could do Sunday was continue praising Him. Because He is faithful. Because He is stronger. And because I can trust Him with my whole life.
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