As we look ahead with hope to the future and celebrate the subtle shifts back into a “normal” rhythm of life—as we find ourselves gathering again as a family to worship our Savior–I was struck by a profound reminder from the Old Testament.
In 1 Samuel 4-7, the people of Israel are dismayed because they have lost the Ark of the Lord to the Philistines and are being oppressed and attacked. In a miraculous event, God brings the Ark of the Lord back to them and then protects them from further attack. Samuel the Prophet takes a stone and calls it Ebenezer, which was the place where the Israelites had camped before they were defeated. This rock was meant to be a symbol of remembrance for many years to come as the Israelites would pass by it and recall the faithfulness of the Lord and how He provided for them in their time of need.
This rock was meant to be a symbol of remembrance for many years to come as the Israelites would pass by it and recall the faithfulness of the Lord and how He provided for them in their time of need.
I know this last year has been a challenge for many of us, and though I celebrate a new season on the horizon and a chance to return to “normal” life, I do want to make sure I never forget how faithful God has been during this time of so much uncertainty.
For more than a year now, I have worn a handmade grey mask every day—a mask we purchased week one of the pandemic from a friend down the street just to “support her ministry.” I never imagined it would be a part of our family for the next year.
Every day I wore this mask, tied around my head. I would pull it down at my desk and in the car and then quickly pull it up over my nose whenever anyone entered my office or I walked into a store. I longed for the day that I could take this old mask and never wear it again. And though that day appears to be on the horizon, I do know I never want to forget how God worked in my life during this season. How He showed up in so many ways that I never thought possible. How ministry took place in a time when face to face was not an option.
I longed for the day that I could take this old mask and never wear it again. And though that day appears to be on the horizon, I do know I never want to forget how God worked in my life during this season.
That old grey mask no longer hangs around my neck, but it does sit on the bookshelf in my office, not out of a need to wear it again, but as my own Ebenezer to make sure I never forget how good God is and how blessed I am to be His son.
I have no idea what this next season holds, but my Heavenly Father does. He always knows what is next. As Ecclesiastes 1:9 states: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.“
So much unknown is still to come—another new challenge to face in the season to come. Though perhaps not a worldwide pandemic, we can be sure that this life will challenge us somehow. It’s inevitable in the midst of a fallen world. And as that challenge and others come, I will look to my Ebenezer and remember God’s faithfulness in the past and find hope for the present. I will also look over passages and promises for my future with my Savior. On good days, I will allow my mind to drift and dream about Eternity with Him and the joy that awaits.
So, before you take your mask and throw it in a fire or toss it in the trash, never forget—God is good. He has always been good, and He will always be good, independent of our circumstances, situation, or suffering. God is good, and I never want to forget who He is and who I am to Him.