Thankful Thursday..."Hither by Thy help I'm come"


There are few things more frustrating than typing for over an hour, pouring your heart into a blog post when you are practically propping your eyes open with toothpicks, and then in one freak glitch of the computer/Blogger/your trackball/or a combination of all the above LOSING the entire post.  Ugh!

There is no way I can re-construct the whole thing at this point, so I'll try to remember the high points.

Just the other day, the kids and I were discussing something in our Bible time in school, and one of them piped up with "Mom, have you noticed how this topic has been coming up a LOT lately...in school, at church, everywhere??"  I replied that yes, I had, and then asked, "What do you think that means?"  More than one child immediately said, "That God really wants us to get this??"  I think so. :)

Although sometimes it is a bit scary, it is also exciting when God begins to hit me with something from all directions.  And it seems to be happening more often these days...not sure if that is because I am paying better attention in my "middle age", or if it is because my often-foggy brain is more dense than it used to be. :)

It happened again tonight.

Today was the 1st anniversary of our pastor's 16-year-old son's death.  We had a special prayer service at church, cancelling all other activities, and our associational missionary, Bro. Jeff, who filled in for Bro. Kent for a month this time last year, spoke again tonight.

I had to smile when he began asking questions about the meanings of "Ebenezer" and "Ichabod".  Our youth Sunday School lessons this summer have been in 1 and 2 Samuel, and just a month or so ago, we had learned the origin of "Ebenezer" in 1 Samuel 7....the "stone of help" commemorating God's help in winning a decisive victory over the Philistines.  And just a few weeks before that, we had studied the story of "Ichabod"...the poor baby boy of Eli's daughter-in-law whose name meant "God's glory has departed from Israel".

As I've mentioned before, these lessons in 1 and 2 Samuel have been wonderful.  God is teaching me so much through them, and they have all been very timely for me...almost scary-timely!   Where we have studied the chapters in greater detail, Bro. Jeff's sermon tonight pulled together perfectly the journey of Israel from Ichabod to Ebenezer, and demonstrated the parallels in our lives during times of grief.   Not only was it just what many of us needed to hear in relation to Aaron's death, but it also was exactly what I needed to hear on an even more personal level regarding the situation our family has been dealing with for the last four years.

Bro. Jeff pointed out that the key to whether we cry out Ichabod or Ebenezer is in where our focus is...Is our focus on the circumstances that threaten to overwhelm, or on the God who saves us?   He also gave the much-needed reminder that when grief overwhelms, choosing to fix our eyes on Jesus is not a one-time thing, but a constant choice.  HOW I needed to hear that today!

I came home from church tonight totally awed once again by His faithfulness, goodness, sovereignty, and grace.  And so thankful...

*I am thankful for Bro. Jeff's ministry to and support of our pastor and our church this year.  I am thankful for words God gave him this time last year that have stuck with me throughout the intervening months, and for the words God gave him tonight.

*I am thankful for the sweet sharing and prayer time with our youth after tonight's service.  And I am thankful for Andy's words and prayer during that time.  I had thought earlier today that Andy was in a somewhat difficult position, needing to minister to our youth during this time, but not having known Aaron or been here during last year's difficult days.  It was a special thing to see God give Andy just the right words, from a heart hurting along with our pastor, our church, and our youth tonight.

*I am thankful for Lyndel's leadership and support this year, and for God's grace and glory seen in the way he has carried that burden.

*I am thankful for Bro. Kent, Mrs. Sarah, and the boys, and the impact they have had on my family and our church.  I am thankful for Bro. Kent's ministry, and for the deepening God has done in it through this year.  God's grace and glory have again been displayed in amazing ways through the Sweatman family and Bro. Kent's ministry.

*I am thankful for the gifts of God's Word and of music.  I am so thankful for the balm that the Word and song have been throughout this year.

*I am thankful for our church, which while it is certainly not perfect, is truly a family.  When one member hurts, the body hurts and comes together to minister and encourage.

*I am thankful for our youth, and for the bond and passion God has grown and is growing in them.

*I am thankful most of all for our sovereign, sufficient, good, faithful, loving, gracious God, and the ways that He has revealed His glory in the midst of tragedy and sorrow.

*And I'm thankful for the opportunity to look back at my Thankful Thursday post from this time last year and reflect on all that God was doing then, and all He has done since.

 Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

 Come, thou Fount of every blessing, 
 tune my heart to sing thy grace; 
 streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
 call for songs of loudest praise. 
 Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
 sung by flaming tongues above. 
 Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
 mount of thy redeeming love. 

 Here I raise mine Ebenezer; 
 hither by thy help I'm come; 
 and I hope, by thy good pleasure, 
 safely to arrive at home. 
 Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
 wandering from the fold of God; 
 he, to rescue me from danger, 
 interposed his precious blood. 

 O to grace how great a debtor 
 daily I'm constrained to be! 
 Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
 bind my wandering heart to thee. 
 Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
 prone to leave the God I love; 
 here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
 seal it for thy courts above. 

        ~ Robert Robinson

To see what others are thankful for today, visit Laurie's blog.  


Whidbey Woman said...

I am so glad you persevered through computer glitches to make this post. It is so rich- in reflection and love; lessons on life and caring for one another.
God is so good, isn't He?
Happy Thankful Thursday!
P.S. My post this week is on Ron's Road 2 Recovery.

Bobbie said...

Glad to see the computer post did go up again. A great deal to be Thankful for! You remind me how much I am thankful for my church too

Nana Jul said...

I love that the LORD confirms his word to us...and He goes to great lengths to be sure we "get it".
He's Awesome!!
What a heart of gratefulness you have!
Thanks for being persistant to share!
Happy TT.

shopannies said...

It is often scarry but also reassuring when we are hit by a message we know had to be sent from God. Our church family is very special as well

t marie said...

It's wonderous to me that your message on this topic speaks to me, even though I am not close to the tragedy.

This morning I sighed and said, "Sustain me LORD, moment by moment."