Read I Samuel 7 and II Corinthians 2
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezar for he said, “Thus far the Lord has delivered us.” I Samuel 7:12
For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears. II Corinthians 2:4
Finally the Israelites came to a point of deep repentance. Verse 2 of Chapter 7 of I Samuel says, “A long time had passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.” They longed for the Lord so much that they put away all their false gods. Then they fasted, confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord. The Philistines saw the gathering of the people and decided to attack. The people panicked. But the Lord miraculously delivered them. Samuel set up a memorial stone for the people to look at so as to remember the Lord’s wonderful act of deliverance. He called the stone Ebenezer which is a combination of two Hebrew words: help; and stone, unchanging and immovable.
Emotionally I have not been doing very well since I was terminated from my job at the beginning of January. I’ve had a knot of fear in my stomach . About a month ago I was hired to a better job. It was the only job I had applied for. But instead of decreasing, my anxiety level plateaued at panic.
Do my emotions indicate a certain lack of trust in the Lord on my part? I think so. Others have told me so.
Do I have reason to trust that the Lord will take care of me, and my family? I have more than a half century of good reasons. So what is my problem?
I can’t give you a good answer, except to say, I am learning to trust the Lord through my feelings of panic. I had a psychology teacher say, “You are your emotions.” From my present situation I know he is wrong, for my emotions do not now define me.
Who but the Lord Jesus ever had such an intensity of emotions that he would sweat drops of blood? Were His emotions because He doubted His Father while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane? Of course not. Paul and Silas were singing while in the dungeon at Philippi. Why wasn’t Paul singing when he heard the Corinthian church was splitting away from him and from his teaching?
James writes that our trials produce steadfastness. They also show us the purposes of the Lord which are mercy and compassion. My feeling of panic are the greatest part of the trial I am now going through. The writer of Hebrews has that most enigmatic verse, “For it was fitting that He, for Whom and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the Founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
This past week, my panic has been lessening. I know it will eventually come to an end. When that happens, like Samuel, I will find a stone. I will keep that stone on my desk at work. (unless I get fired, of course, then I’ll bring it home.) Each time I look at that stone I will remember my time of panic, and the Lord’s kind deliverance from it.