I’ve always love the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. Tears come to my eyes every time I sing the phrase “prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love”. But right now a different stanza strikes me: “Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I come”. I’ve never understood that line, and even though someone told me once upon a time what an ebenezer was, it didn’t mean much. But it does now. In 1 Sam 7:9-14, Samuel is sacrificing offerings to the Lord on behalf of Israel. While they’re gathered, the Philistines come, ready to attack. God, in a way only God can, throws the Philistines into confusion and the Israelites end up chasing them down and defeating them. They return, and in gratitude and hope place a stone on the battle field that Samuel calls “Ebenezer” meaning the Lord has helped us.
There is a powerful moment in any religious conversion, in which a person realizes that all of the mentors, and all that they have said, all of the time spent in reading scripture, or engaged in what felt like stupid, boring, or plain hopeless prayer, has been of help after all. It is nothing you have done, but all of it is one event, God’s being there, and being of help. The enemies you were facing, whatever obstacles seemed amassed against you, even your own confusion, have simply vanished. And you are certain that it is God who has brought you to this moment, which may even feel like victory.
For this ever searching, sometimes too intense individual, a light heart, given by Him, is victory indeed!