The fan spins round as the house settles in for the night and I lay here on my bed waiting for sleep to come. As I wait I am overwhelmed. For He is here with me. His presence, His peace, is almost more than I can bare.
The children whisper to one another from their beds. One makes a last trip to the bathroom, then to get a drink. Slowly quite comes. Breathing slows and steadies. A hush falls all around as laughter and chatter fade to silence. And He is here with me, with us. His presence, His comfort, overwhelms.
I am no stranger to the sounds of night. The sounds of settling down at the end of the day. No stranger to the fan going round; to the still, deep silence. No stranger to feeling overwhelmed.
Many nights I’ve laid here on my bed overwhelmed with worry. Overwhelmed with cares. As the fan goes round so do the thoughts in my mind. Thoughts of ends not quite meeting and hearts not quite mended. Thoughts of “what if” and “if only”. Thoughts of “what now” and “why”.
Night after sleepless night… overwhelmed, anxious, afraid.
And now, once again sleep alludes me as my mind spins round with the fan. But this time different thoughts occupy my mind. Thoughts of faithfulness. Of promises kept. Of His constant, persistent presence.
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” (1 Samuel 7:12 NIV)
And He has.
And so here in the dark I raise a stone. A stone of remembrance. A stone for every sleepless night that He stood patiently by my side. A stone for every bill, somehow, someway, paid. A stone for every bound up, healing heart. Every confident smile. Every comforting Word. A stone erected in honor of His faithfulness.
And I am overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by His goodness. Overwhelmed by His mercy. Overwhelmed by His presence.
His presence isn’t something that comes and goes. It’s only our awareness of His nearness that changes. He is steady. Constant. It’s our hearts that waiver. Doubt. And in the dark valley it’s oftentimes hard to see Him. So He calls us to stop. To pause. To ponder. To reflect on the journey. To see His goodness. To set up a standing stone of remembrance. A solid rock to cling to in the dark night when the fan goes round and the thoughts threaten to take us round with them.
The thoughts are still there. The “what ifs” and “what nows”. But standing here, on this Rock of remembrance, they hold no power over me. For the One who has brought me “thus far” is the one who holds my tomorrow. And He can be trusted, no matter what comes my way.