Things have been a mite quiet in Bipolar World since I had my oral surgery. Things were off kilter before the surgery and I felt horrible after the surgery: the grin had slipped and I was finding it hard to be positive so it just seemed more prudent to keep my words behind my lips. In true bear fashion, I hunkered down in my Bipolar Bubble as if it were a cave and my only aim was to hibernate until the winter of my discontentment had passed. I didn’t post anything here. I didn’t really contact my friends. I only sent out a few emails and played Scrabble online with a friend. It was only the bare essentials – bible study, work, grocery shopping. And I didn’t feel guilty about it.
The time I spent hibernating was time well spent. I have a renewed perspective and I’m feeling a bit more stable, because, let’s face it, you can hide from everybody but God in a cave. He will always find you out and you will always hear him if you really want to. Most of the stuff God brought up with me will only mean something to me so I’m not going to blog about it, but he put this one gem on my heart for a while now and it’s a thought whose time has come: Ebenezer.
Yes, I can be a bit Scroogie at times, but that wasn’t what he meant. With all the surgeries and Bipolar I’ve been through a lot of stuff. Certainly, there are others who have been through worse. I’m not arguing for who has had more pain. My point is that my pain is my pain and it matters to me… and to God. Now I could stay in the cave and turn my back on life or I can remember. God has brought me safe thus far, maybe not in the style or the speed in which I would have liked, but if I look back, it is undeniable. God has brought me a long way and as long as I’m still breathing, he ain’t done with me yet.
I found a post online today that really gets at the heart of what I want to say in my next post so I thought I’d use it as a preface to what I’m going to say once I step fully out of the cave. In order to move forward I need to look back. My mistake is that I’ve been looking backwards at people more than I’ve been looking back at God. Here’s that post. I cannot find the name of the website but I’ve included the link at the end it’s from a blog called “Another Think.” Charles Lehardy is the blogger.
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—”the stone of help”—for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” —1 Samuel 7:12, NLT
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood. —Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
After a long period of sadness and trouble, a consequence of Israel’s disobedience, Israel repented under the leadership of a new priest and judge, Samuel. God restored their political security, and the people, for their part, re-committed their hearts and minds to their Lord.
Samuel placed a large stone at the place where this restoration began. He publicly dedicated it as a monument to God’s help, God’s faithfulness, God’s eternal covenant. And as the people got on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way, a reminder of judgment and repentance, mercy and restoration.
The Ebenezer stone represented a fresh beginning, a reversal of course for God’s people. It also said something important about God: his mercies are everlasting; his covenant is forever.
I have friends who keep prayer journals. They record their requests to God and the answers they receive. In this way, they can go back into the past and review their walk with God; they are reminded of his faithfulness.
Prayer journals are a type of Ebenezer stone.
Members of AA can tell you how long they have been sober. They keep alive the memory of the last drink they took, and with each new day, one day at a time, they move farther down the road of sobriety. AA is on to something important. Do they ask their members to count the number of years spent in drunken waste? No. They count the days spent walking in a new direction. All that went before is water over the dam.
I tend to beat myself up about mistakes I made long, long ago. I don’t forgive myself, even though I accept the fact of God’s forgiveness. Perhaps you can identify with me. But that’s not what God desires.
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. —Philippians 3:13b,14, NLT (The Apostle Paul writing)
I should set up an Ebenezer stone, I think, to serve as a continual reminder that I am forgiven, that I have chosen a new direction, that God has made a permanent covenant with all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Samuel was a wise and godly man with a good idea. He recognized something that’s true about human nature—we’re forgetful. At Ebenezer, Israel could stand next to that big old rock and remind themselves, “Yes, we serve a living and faithful God, whose mercies are everlasting.”
Here’s the link to the actual post: Here I raise my Ebenezer – AnotherThink.