Friday, March 31, 2006

One of my many Ebenezers

You’re looking at a picture of one of my Ebenezers. In fact, his name is Ebenezer. This is my grandson, born in July, 2004, to my daughter Rebecca and son-in-law Scott. Let me tell you why Ebenezer is a fitting name for this special little boy (and I’m not prejudiced).

Little did my daughter know when she went into the delivery room to give birth to Eben, that he was not where he was supposed to be. You probably knew this: Unborn babies live for nine months in this place inside their mommies called a “uterus.” But Eben (and his placenta) chose to develop inside his mommy’s abdominal cavity. That’s right, my daughter had what is called an abdominal pregnancy. Not until Rebecca was lying on the delivery table did the doctors and nurses find this out.

Now, you need to know a few things about abdominal pregnancies. They are, says one expert, “an exceedingly rare occurrence.” The incidence of abdominal pregnancy is 1 in 10,000 live births. At least 20-40% of the babies who survive are malformed, and only 50% survive for longer than a week. Abdominal pregnancies are also life threatening for the mother, due to massive hemorrhaging. Maternal mortality rates as high as 18% have been reported in the literature. In short, it is a miracle that Eben is a perfectly healthy, bouncing baby boy today, and that my daughter Rebecca is alive and well.

Now do you understand why my daughter and her husband named their miracle child “Ebenezer”? See, “Ebenezer” is a proper name found in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 7). The people of Israel were about to be attacked by a powerful army of Philistines. They begged the prophet Samuel to pray to God on their behalf. So Samuel presented an offering and asked God to protect them from the Philistines. Sure enough, “the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines” (1 Sam. 7:10) and the Israelites won a dramatic victory. After the battle, Samuel found a large stone and set it up near Mizpah as a memorial to God’s faithfulness. Samuel named the stone “Ebenezer” (Hebrew for “stone of help”), and said, “Thus far has the Lord helped us." If ever the people of Israel doubted God’s love and power, all they needed to do was travel to Mizpah and look at the stone called Ebenezer. That “stone of help” would erase their doubts and fears, and help them regain confidence in the grace of God.

So when I look at my grandson, I know God is faithful.

What's your Ebenezer? Like me, you probably have a lot of Ebenezers. They are special reminders that God brought you this far, and will make sure you get all the way home.

You might know the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." The second stanza says,

Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.

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