There I was at Jo-Ann's, swiping my debit card and punching in my pin number. Invalid. I tried again--and again--and just in case, one more time. I tried to reach into the dusty crevices of my brain to resuscitate the numbers. I was sure that I just getting one or two numbers out of order. Alack and alas, though I could remember my seven-digit library number, I could not come up with my four-digit pin number. I ended up scraping together the cash in $1 bills and coins and borrowing a few dollars from Melanie to make up the difference. And then I went home to check the number--and it was not even close to what I had thought it was.
How does my memory work like that? How can I remember the number perfectly fine one day, and then--when I really need it--I think I know it, but I don't! The solution, of course, would be to write it down. Maybe engrave it on a bracelet or stamp it on the bottom of my shoe or encode it on my cell phone. Except for the would-be identity thieves just drooling to get their hands on my bracelet, shoe, or cell phone, this would be a perfect plan.
Stone of Help
With my memory as inconsistent as it is, I need reminders. Like the time I forgot my friend's name--a reminder would have been good. Or the time I forgot what I had prayed for that morning and missed out on the blessing of seeing an answered prayer. Or the time when I forgot what seven times eight is. Wish I had had a multiplication table just then. Or the time I couldn't remember that I was saved. I was scared to death that maybe it was a figment of my imagination. Or the time I was so desperately troubled that I forgot the glory of my God.
That's why I need an Ebenezer--a stone of help. God is my Ebenezer--He is my Help and my Rock (Exodus 3:14-15), but sometimes I forget. Or sometimes, I think I remember, but I've gotten it all muddled in my brain without even realizing it. This is why Abraham named the place where he nearly sacrificed Isaac "Jehovahjireh" (Genesis 22:14) and why Jacob set up stones twice in Bethel (Genesis 28:18 and 31:45). This is why Moses built an altar (Exodus 17:15) and Joshua set up twelve stones (Joshua 4:9) and a stone under an oak tree (Joshua 24:26). Samuel set up a stone in I Samuel 7:12 as his reminder.
So it turns out, I'm in good company. I'm forgetful, fickle, gullible, and temporal. That's why I need to engrave my reminders in stone or write them in my journal or blog them on the internet or share them with my friends or represent them with objects (I have necklaces, books, artwork, etc. that serve this purpose). These are my Ebenezers to remind short-sighted me what my God has done in my life.
"Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: 'When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, "What [are] these stones?" then you shall let your children know....that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it [is] mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.'" - (Jos 4:21-22, 24
Now if only I could remember my Social Security number...
New King James Version, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Photo #1 Credit: Andrew Enright
Photo #2 Credit: Hugo Photography