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".....(he) called (it)...Ebenezer, saying Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
1 Samuel 7:12
As we come to the close of another year, we must confess that we have often failed to live up to our high calling in Christ Jesus. The one thing that cheers our heart, however, is that God has never gone back on His promises or deserted us! With Samuel of old, we can exclaim, "Ebenezer....Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!" His mercies, they don't fail; they are "new every morning." God's loving presence, His providential hand, His certain promises, and His eternal Word have accompanied us on the pilgrim journey; so we fear not the unknown days ahead of us. Comforted and warmed by His Holy Spirit, surrounded by angel bands of protection, we walked the desertland of this world confidently; for we know that by grace we shall eventually reach the blessed "Canaan" of His promise. We do not fear to enter the new year, for we shall remain under the watchful eye of Him who has helped us in the past!
The poet has written very well: "I know not whether dark or bright this year shall be; I only know He gives light, and I can trust His love and might who leads me. I know not what this year may bring to those I love; but I can sweetly rest and sing under the shadow of His wing, here or Above. I know not whether short or long my life may be, but nothing He chooses can be wrong; and He shall be my strength and song now and eternally!"
Knowing that God is "the same yesterday, today, and forever," we can carry His "Ebenezer blessing" into the future as a comforting staff for us to lean on as we face the uncertainties of a new year!
Pastor Louis Abel is the Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Chiefland, and is a frequent contributor to other religious magazines and journals.