Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Remember, Sandra. REMEMBER.

Ebenezer is an interesting word. 

It doesn't come up that often in casual conversation, but when it does I like the way it rolls off my tongue . . . Eb-e-ne'-zer. 

More importantly the word Ebenezer stirs my soul. 

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”  
1 Samuel 7:12

Think about it. Samuel gave a name to a rock. 

God sees names as pretty important things so it's worth paying attention when an inanimate object like a rock is identified with such a personal tag. 

The name Samuel gave the rock is actually two Hebrews words pronounced Even Haazer. Together they mean 'Stone of Help'. The Ebenezer stone was set up to commemorate God mercifully granting the Israelites the ultimate victory over the Philistines in the third of three battles.

The following is my testimony to three of the training battles I faced during the process of emptying our flat in Prague. I raise them here as an Ebenezer to God's loving presence and powerful help provided at a time when nothing less would do.

1. Books
After making and distributing the initial list of household items for sale, I noticed the collection of educational materials we'd gathered. I didn't have it in me to list and price each item. I wanted them to get into the hands of homeschool families yet had no idea how to do that in three short weeks.

Within days God intervened in an online conversation to bring the parents of a Dutch homeschool Dad for a stay at our flat on their way home from Romania. A few more days and, after a short but lovely overnight visit, Jan and Anthonia left with an extra load of books in their mini-van to be shared with our many homeschool friends in the Netherlands. The burden I'd been obsessing over disappeared.

2. Clothes
My reaction the first time my eyes caught the piles of clothing I was shocked at the volume. Besides needing to stay within baggage limits, we'd both lost quite a bit of weight. The most sensible thing to do was leave behind 95% of our wardrobes. I began to desperately plead that every article would get into the hands of someone who needed it, and be delivered in Jesus' Name.

God orchestrated a conversation with Zdeněk and Alenka, an elder and his wife, at the close of service the very last time we attended church in Prague. I asked if they had a ministry of sharing clothing items with needy folks and got a quiet, affirmative answer. "And whatever we cannot distribute in our own community, we send to Ukraine." This energetic couple drove to our flat two days later. We enjoyed a meaningful time of fellowship and they departed with a car stuffed full of clothing, bedding, towels and other household items. I didn't obsess this time around, merely kept repeating my petition until it was answered. 

3. Couches
I was happy for a while that nobody was interested in our two IKEA couches. After all, we could still sit and relax in comfort and welcome guests. By the final week it was as though they were assaulting my eyes every time I walked through our living space. We dropped the price twice and still no bites. Once we arranged for a service to pick up whatever furniture was left on Saturday I should have relaxed, but I didn't. I continued to beseech heaven to sell those couches.

God stepped in again. This time via a call from the friend of a friend. Staci explained that she wanted the couches, but that arranging the pick up and delivery was problematic. As we talked we realized we could ask the pick-up people to deliver the couches to her and pick up the sectional she was replacing. When Staci came to hand us the payment, she and I visited over tea. More meaningful fellowship between strangers would be hard to find. We enjoyed our comfy couches right up until we left our flat to stay with friends. I found myself almost settling into an expectant mindset that God "was able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine".  Ephesians 3:20

My loving, omniscient, and wise Father knew / knows that visual or physical problems are among the hardest for me to handle. Each of these crazy burdens in their turn jumped out and smacked me in the face. I was quickly overwhelmed by my own powerlessness and forced to run to my Abba for a divine solution.

And He granted it. Every time. 

May His Name be praised forever. Amen

The relief I felt at the lifting of each burden was accompanied by an irresistible need to stop in my tracks and praise and thank my LORD for rescuing me. It was totally clear to me that not one ounce of anything I was or had or could do played a part in my deliverance. It was ALL GOD . . . the same as when He justified me according to the Savior's blood. 

O the joy! 


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  
Hebrews 13:8 NIV1984

That means that as surely as I AM is able, willing, and interceding to lift visible and physical burdens, He is able, willing, and intervening to do the same for emotional, psychological, spiritual, intangible, . . . burdens.

I only need to bring them to His throne of grace.

Remember, Sandra. REMEMBER.

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