by Toni Jackson
I feel stuck. And I have felt stuck in this heavy muddle for a very long time – two years, in fact. It’s been a long time of feeling like I’m idling… waiting to shift into gear. God, I’m just sitting here. Can I go now? God, I’m getting low on gas. Can we move now? And despite my questioning, my pleading, my yearning, I am still sitting here. Waiting for the light to turn green.
One of my favorite passages in the Old Testament is 1 Samuel 7. It has always resonated with me and has again during this time of prayer and fasting.
The chapter opens explaining how the Ark of Lord came to its location. Then it says that the Ark of the Lord just sat. Unmoved. For twenty years! Sound familiar? (Though, my two years seem pretty insignificant in comparison.) “During that time, all Israel mourned because it seemed like the Lord had abandoned them.”1
Then Samuel gives them a charge: return to the Lord. And they do! This entire nation comes together and surrenders. Can you imagine what that must have looked like? Everyone was praying, repenting and fasting together. How powerful! Then their leader pleads for them and presents to God a burnt offering. And do you know what the beautiful thing is?
God answers in the incredible and astounding way He always does. So after Israel has this supernatural victory over their enemy, they pause and Samuel commemorates their win. “Samuel then 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!’”2 I can just hear that victorious roar of the Israelite army! It makes the hair stand up on my arms! God delivered. He delivered big time.
As exciting as it is, I still read this piece of scripture with a heavy heart. I am waiting for something miraculous. I am praying for something amazing to happen in our family. I have no idea what that even looks like – I can’t see anything ahead! But I have to remind myself of what I can see: victories past. Ebenezer after Ebenezer where God came through. He was on my side then and He is on my side right now.
The same charge Samuel gave to Israel is the same charge I am giving to both of us. Return to the Lord. I realize that will look different for each of us, but we absolutely need to.
So while I idle and wait and anticipate the next move, I am going to listen to the Holy Spirit and just sit.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I come3
1 – 1 Samuel 7:2b
2 – 1 Samuel 7:12
3 – “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” Robert Robinson