There are rocks in my garden.
Most people take rocks out, but I put rocks in and around each of my raised beds. They do more than serve as a pathway for my wandering feet. They hold space.
The other day I was tenderly walking on the path barefoot. I stepped on a raised rock that immediately made me stop and reach for it as it was uncomfortable underfoot. I held the smooth stone in my hand and stood there, thinking about the song lyrics that had been rolling around in my head for a week.
And I will build an altar
And stack it stone by stone
‘Cause every Ebenezer says I’ve never been alone
My faith will surely falter
But that don’t change what You’ve done
‘Cause every Ebenezer points to where my help comes from
I don’t regret much in the past decade. I’ve never found it to be productive to wish and wander about how things could have gone or things I should have done. But as I stood holding that rock, I regretted not setting aside rocks to remember every time God has come through in the last dozen years.
In Hebrew, the word Ebenezer means “stone of help.” An Ebenezer moment is when God changes a bad situation around quickly. It’s a reminder of when God intervenes in our lives. We memorialize our loved ones with rocks as a way to remember them; we build statues out of rocks so we don’t forget. Samuel took a stone and set it up . . . and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” I Samuel 7:12
As I looked at the thousands of rocks peppering my garden, I thought–this is my Ebenezer. This place where I grow things is a reminder of how I have grown.
Last week, in a moment of deep disappointment and fear, I texted a friend and asked for prayer for my unbelief. I wanted to believe God for a miracle. Another impossibility. It felt like a Red Sea moment–you know the kind: the only way out was forward but I was afraid of what was in front of me.
I can’t imagine the thoughts Moses must have had standing at the edge of the sea with a staff in hand, enemies hot on his track and a God’s people looking for him to lead–to take that step into victory.
He stood firm. God didn’t bring them to this place, this moment to leave them alone. He brought them there to bring them through. It may have looked really bad, but God was in a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Obedience led them to this miracle territory.
I wonder if Moses bent down and picked up a rock before he raised his staff and took that step and led his people to freedom. Or when the wall of water crushed his enemies on the other side did he put a smooth stone in his pocket?
I don’t have the miracle yet, but I have stone in hand ready for a rock alter. I’m standing firm. I’m sitting in my garden, counting rocks, stacking them stone by stone, remembering I’ve been here so many times before–never alone.
King David said, the Lord was his rock, his fortress, deliverer, strength, shield, stronghold, and the horn of his salvation (Ps. 18:2)
There’s not another place I’d rather be than between the rock (of ages) and a hard place.