Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

This familiar lyric to the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” warms many hearts and yet confuses many minds.  What is an Ebenezer anyway?  Most people are familiar with it due to Ebenezer Scrooge in the Christmas Carol.

It actually comes from 1 Sam. 7:12 when the priest Samuel takes a stone and sets it up as a monument.  He calls a rock by the name Ebenezer which means “stone of help.”  He is right in the middle of where he has been and where he is going and pauses to reorient his perspective.

In the middle of where you’ve been and where you’re going, it’s helpful to remember who has been there every step of the way.

With a lot of experiences behind him, he knew there were challenges ahead.  So, how did he cope with the uncertain?  He drew strength from that which he knew was certain.  His constant source of strength – his relationship with the LORD.

As he places that rock down on the ground, he is indicating this foundational truth:

If the LORD has helped me this far, how could I fathom that he would leave me now?

It’s a new year.  Last year wore you out.  This next year has you worried.  But throughout the unexpected, we have one certain and sure hope – our God is with us.  He is good.  He is near.

Are you anxious about what is to come?  Draw strength from the faithfulness God has displayed in what has passed.  Yes, it was rough, but you made it.

The greatest cure for an anxious heart is a good memory.

At the beginning of a new year, it is always helpful to place Ebenezer down in the ground and remember, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”  And if He brought me this far, I don’t believe He will leave me now.

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.