[We had great burdens there…]
From the moment I learned that an Ebenezer stone was a stone that signifies God’s help (1 Samuel 7:12 ), I was intrigued by the concept of using stones as a reminder. I wanted one! I wanted my very own Ebenezer stone! Maybe it’s a bit quirky, but it inspired me.
When we moved into our current suite–after a trying ordeal at our former dwelling, which forced us to seek housing elsewhere–I found a heart shaped stone in the yard. I’d found my Ebenezer stone! It seemed appropriate.
We’d sought help from our former landlord when our lights began flashing and fading. (In other words we were experiencing brownouts.) We knew full well that the neighbor in the apartment below us was growing marijuana, as we could smell the strong odor coming up through our dryer vent. At the same time our electricity bill was rising significantly. Putting two and two together, it was clear what was going on: our electricity was being hijacked and we were paying for it. Try as we might to get the help that we needed from our fellow man (our landlord; the police; the fire department; and the electrical company), we weren’t able to find that help, and thus we were forced to move.
Because we worked from home making ceramics, we knew it would be a bit of a challenge to find what we needed. The suites in our area tend to be quite compact, and we realized that some homeowners might be reluctant to rent their suite to us due to our home based business. To find what we needed on our budget would also be a feat and a half. We had very specific criteria that needed to be met in this move, so we had to trust God for that help.
We searched high and low for three months. We looked at suites that were far too small or far too run down; at times we felt leary of the homeowner or the neighborhood, and at other times the homeowners were leary of our home based business–as we felt they might be.
I remember the song that kept playing each time we’d go out to view another home: “Where I belong” by building 429. The words that came through the radio went like this: “All I know, is I’m not home yet. This is not where I belong.” These words were very appropriate for our search for a new home and that desire to get away from the burdens we were faced with in our current dwelling, but of course the lyrics mean something far different; they’re about the challenges we face here on earth, and that we seek a far better heavenly home.
“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” –Hebrews 11:13-16
Finally, we found a house that we felt might fit the bill, however, I had some reservations. I wasn’t sold on the suite, but we were running out of options. We’d finally found something that not only had the space that we needed, it also had a landlord who was eager to have us as tenants. A decision would need to be made soon. Nevertheless, I wasn’t ready to give in and give up. I kept my eagle eyes open, and when I came across an add that sounded very promising, I handed Andrew the phone number.
Though the fellow on the phone was near ready to give the suite to another couple, he decided to let us have a look anyways. When we entered the suite I was immediately impressed! I loved it! As we looked around, it was everything we needed and more. Not only was it beautiful, it had all the space we were looking for; it was located in a great neighborhood (in our price range), and the landlord didn’t make us feel ill at ease. (Having been his tenant for 5 years now we can both attested to the fact that he has been an awesome landlord.) When we got the call that the suite was ours–if we wanted it–we were overjoyed. Yes, of course we wanted it! It was an answer to prayer. I still thank the Lord every night for the roof over our heads.
From the start of our search it may have felt like the odds were stacked against us, but Jesus came through for us–even exceeding our expectations. It wasn’t the first time He’d come through for us in a big way either.
It was shortly after we settled into our new suite that I found that heart shaped stone, so I put a piece of photo paper in the printer and printed this: “He has seen us safe thus far”. I then super glued that heart shaped stone to it, and framed it. It now hangs beside our door where I can always be reminded as we come and go, that God has helped us, and He will do it again.
[Wow…I just realized something I’d forgotten; there’s a line in that building 429 song that reads like this: “When the lights fade, I want to be found in You.” …Amen. God’s not dead. He’s still working, and He still speaks. Even through the words of a song.]
“Brothers, we want you to know about the trouble we suffered in the country of Asia. We had great burdens there that were greater than our own strength. We even gave up hope for life. Truly in our own hearts we believed that we would die. But this happened so that we would not trust in ourselves. It happened so that we would trust in God, who raises people from death. And He will continue to save us. We have put our hope in Him, and He will save us again. –2 Corinthians 1:8-10”