«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’ » (1 Samuel 7:12).
Anne and I took a 28-kilometre walk through Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire, England. It was a beautiful and strenuous experience that took us nine hours! As we walked along the boundary path, we went through ancient forests covered with flowering wild garlic. The path is marked with green arrows; every time we found one, Anne would touch it and pat it gently, as if to say, «We’re on the right track.» It is difficult to explain the joy someone feels to find a sign confirming the way while out hiking. In the end, even though we dragged our feet out of exhaustion, we still had energy left to scream and clap when we caught sight of an arrow.
Many times, in describing the Christian life, we say that «we walk with God.» What a beautiful metaphor! Walking with God is a beautiful and strenuous experience, an adventure in which we find beauty but also pain, and we get «blisters.» Often, between signs, we move forward by faith, trusting that at the right time, God will give us more information. He does not guide like a GPS does, giving us step-by-step directions, but like signs along a trail.
In Discerning the Voice of God, Priscilla Shirer said, «We want God to paint the whole image immediately, but He wisely does not reveal certain truths and details until we need them» and we can use the information without spoiling the plan. Therefore, when we see a sign confirming the path, it is important to get used to marking that moment in our memory, Patting the arrow helps us remember it better and not lose hope in the days when we feel lost. We must become used to noticing and marking those moments, to erecting spiritual milestones that remind us that «thus far the Lord has helped us» (1 Samuel 7:12). You can write those moments in a prayer journal, share them with friends, or include them in a poster of gratitude. Whatever your strategy may be, make an effort to make those moments leave a mark on your memory because we have nothing to fear from the future unless we forget how the Lord has led us and what He has taught us in our past.
Dear Lord, thank You for guiding me! I want to make a conscious effort to mark Your presence and Your love in my heart.