Someone emailed me this photo last week and I wanted to share with you. I don’t know if it has been Photoshopped or not but, even if it has, the unspoken message is awesome!
Yesterday, we worshipped at Cross Roads Methodist Church. The message was about Memorial Day and what it means. For most of us, it’s a day of visiting the cemetery and placing flowers on the graves of loved ones who have gone before us. Pastor Randy talked about the grave markers (or stones) we would find in the cemetery and, when we look at those stones, we remember.
For me, I remember how our dad toiled in the fields under the hot sun, growing corn and oats to feed his livestock which would, in turn, feed his family. I remember our mom in the garden, hoeing and harvesting. She canned and froze vegetables, made jams and jellies from the apples, chokecherries, plums, and strawberries my sister and I picked and brought to her … all so we would have something to eat during the cold hard winter. I remember many summer meals of sweet corn and fried chicken and Sunday afternoon rides, dropping in to visit with neighbors until chore time. I remember fishing poles tied to the car’s door knob and antennae as we drove to that hidden fishin’ spot to catch a few sunnies and bullheads. I remember Dad welding swing sets and slides for us and the neighbor kids to enjoy year after year. I remember Mom strapping on her accordion and walking around outside, playing and singing; she had a beautiful soprano voice and was a wonderful musician. I remember how soft and warm my Mom’s hands were and how weathered and tough Dad’s were. I remember that they worked hard to provide for their family. And, I remember how much they loved us. How different my life is today without them; how much I miss them.
There was another stone Pastor Randy talked about, one I don’t think about much, even though I should. It appeared way back when Samuel was a leader of the Israelites. The Philistines were about to attack when the Israelites called upon Samuel, asking him to plead for God’s help to rescue them from their peril. Samuel did, God answered and to commemorate this, a stone was placed between the cities of Mizpah and Shen by Samuel. Samuel named this stone Ebenezer, which means ‘the stone of help’, and publicly dedicated it as a monument to God’s faithfulness and eternal covenant to us, His children. It still stands today.
A couple of days ago, I read a daily devotion from ‘Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young.
‘The world is too much with you, My child. Your mind leaps from problem to problem to problem, tangling your thoughts in anxious knots. When you think like that, you leave Me out of your worldview and your mind becomes darkened. Though I yearn to help, I will not violate your freedom. I stand silently in the background of your mind, waiting for you to remember that I am with you.
When you turn from your problems to My Presence, your load is immediately lighter. Circumstances may not have changed, but we carry your burdens together. Your compulsion to ‘fix’ everything gives way to deep, satisfying connection with Me. Together we can handle whatever this day brings.’
I don’t know about you but, often, I become like the Israelites. I don’t always remember my Ebenezer stone. I don’t ask God for help until the Philistines are flailing down on me. I’m in control; I can handle every situation by myself, or so I think. The message delivered yesterday was that I can’t do it by myself, no one can. We need God’s help, His intervention and His love. We all need to remember that God is quietly standing by, holding us gently but firmly in His hands. We need to ask for His guidance and then WAIT FOR HIS ANSWERS! He is, after all, wonderfully, our Ebenezer stone.
Have a blessed Memorial Day, filled with cherished memories of your loved ones. Be sure to remember the loved one who gave His son for our salvation.