I feel so unqualified to write this blog post. How to have joy in all circumstances. I’m honestly still trying to figure this out. However, God laid this upon my heart to share with you, so I feel confident in HIS words, not mine. I believe having joy in all circumstances starts with recognizing and writing down your “Ebenezers.” The first time I heard that word I thought probably what you are thinking now. What on earth is an Ebenezer?
What is an Ebenezer?
Ebenezer is a Hebrew word that means “stone of help.” Ebenezer is only mentioned three times in the Bible, the first time of which is in 1 Samuel 4. The Israelites went to battle against the Philistines and encamped by a place called Ebenezer. They were defeated by the Philistines there and thought if they brought the ark of the covenant to their camp God would save them. As they brought the ark to camp, the Philistines captured ark as well as the priests who were carrying it.
Years later, we enter into 1 Samuel 7. Samuel tells the Israelites to turn back to the Lord, put away idols, and to ask God to deliver them from the Philistines. The Israelites listened to Samuel and defeated the Philistines with the help of the Lord.
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.” 1 Samuel 7:12-13
Samuel used the “Ebenezer” as an object remembrance.
Ebenezer was the place where the Israelites failed to seek and trust the Lord and lost the battle.
Later on, Samuel used that same name to remind the Israelites of the juxtaposition of their failure versus the victory that comes when God is put first.
How Does An Ebenezer Help Us To Have Joy?
I’m sure most of you have probably journaled at some point. I have off and on throughout my life, but I had never heard of journaling about my “Ebenezers.” A woman in my Bible study brought it up one day and I felt like it was a clear word from the Lord.
It basically just means keeping track of the victories God gives you. Seeing the way He is present in the little wins and the big wins, and even how He’s present in the losses (1 Samuel 4).
The idea is that you can look back in a year or 10 years from now and see all the ways God has been present.
We often have spiritual amnesia.
We forget how God has delivered us and shown up for us time and time again. Our prayers are filled with “God please do this” and “God please do that,” and then when He does it we forget and move on like it never happened.
For example, this past fall we were in France for 3 months for a mission trip. That trip was filled with spiritual warfare and I don’t know if I’ve ever prayed more. I was constantly praying for God to give me joy amongst the circumstances, to get my family healthy, to keep us safe, and to give us the strength to see the trip through.
By the time Christmas rolled around, we decided it was time to go home. Everything seemed to be against us. We had rats in our room, all our friends had COVID, Hudson got a crazy high fever, Thomas was throwing up randomly at night. It was a nightmare! I reached my rock bottom in France. I prayed and prayed and cried until I had nothing left.
I’d liken my time in France to when you work out to “failure.” Training to failure means you use a super heavy weight and continue your exercise until you reach a rep that you struggle to complete. Imagine doing push-ups to failure. Your last rep you end up basically falling on your face. That was me in France.
I trained those spiritual muscles to failure. I NEVER want to forget about that time because although God didn’t deliver the way I wanted, I knew He was there. He showed up.
God was there with me through the trials and He got us home safely just in time for christmas.
The benefit of journaling moments like this is when you look back you see three things:
- Growth 2. Strength 3. Faith 4. God Moving in Mighty Ways!
All these things contribute to our joy! When we can approach the day ahead with the idea that nothing is impossible with God, it gives us joy. We find joy in the little things. The big things don’t seem so big anymore.
“Though the sorrow may last through the night, joy comes in the morning.”Psalm 30:5
Let’s Get Journaling!
I really do believe journaling about our “God moments” will help us achieve greater joy in our every day life. Here are some super cute journals if you don’t have one already to get started!
If you have a crazy God story or moment I would for you to share it in the comments below or share it on Instagram and tag me @bysamanthajordan. Can’t wait to hear from you!
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