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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)

TITLE: Missing Ebenezer
By Ruth Neilson
08/05/06


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Abby has always had a passion for saving those for who were in trouble. As long as I can remember, she was the one who would be there for others. That was just Abby’s nature. That is why it didn’t surprise me when she became a police officer.

But she lost something when she was attacked three months ago. Maybe it’s her desire to help people. Whatever it is, I hope that her visit home will restore her vision.

Abby and her husband, Danny slips into the back of the congregation of the early morning church service. Abby looks pale, withdrawn...and Danny doesn’t look much better. Forced smiles grace their lips as members turn and greet them—and Abby clings to Danny as if shaking hands is too overwhelming for her. I know what she has endured, only because I’ve been in constant contact with her—I am one of the few people that she confides in.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve 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.


She looks at me. I can see that she caught the hidden meaning of the verse, so I smile and nod as I approach the pulpit. After a short prayer, I open my worn, leather-bound Bible and begin to read a passage that is not so familiar to the congregation, 1 Samuel 7:12. This message is crucial for Abby to receive. I see her leaning forward in her seat, clinging to every word of the sermon as if it is a lifeline.

The Spirit floods through me, taking command of my words, of my thoughts, of everything. My voice raises and drops dramatically, but I no longer see my congregation or Abby. I only see the hopes, fears, and failures of my people.

Oh, Lord, what is happening in this moment? I pray, still watching, still attempting to make sense out of what I am seeing.

“The Lord has helped you so far, continue to lean upon Him and He will see you through the struggles!” I can hear my voice thundering across the silent congregation. Then all is still in my spirit. I have said what had to be said. There is a moment of silence before I give the altar call. Surprisingly, most of the congregation trickles down—all but Abby.

Large crowds still make her nervous. But she’s not leaving; she’s waiting for the teeming mass of humanity to go down before she approaches the altar. The Spirit is working on her soul, repairing the brokenness. Restoring her vision—maybe not in the same form as it had been before, but there is healing being done.
---

Where there is no vision, the people perish... (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12 (NIV)

Hymn lyrics from verse 2 of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson 1758


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This article has been read 615 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/10/06
Love the title, the excerpt from one of my favorite hymns, and the gentle mood of this little story. Be careful of switching back and forth between past and present tense. This tender story spoke to me.
david grant08/12/06
There is wisdom in this story. Rarely do we get a story from the pulpit view. I enjoyed the pastor's care and tenderness toward is people.
Jan Ross08/13/06
Aside from some grammatical errors (primarily tense problems), this is a precious story of the Holy Spirit's wooing, comfort, and healing. I loved it! Great story! :)
Rita Garcia08/16/06
A portrait of a pastor with a heart for God, thank you for sharing this story.
Kimberly Mitchell08/16/06
A delightful story. Currently we don't have a pastor right now, but I hope we recieve one similar to the one in your story.
Joanne Sher 08/16/06
The tense problems did NOT distract from this wonderful story - I especially enjoyed the pastor's perspective on this. Wonderful writing!