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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

My Ebenezer Box: On the Lookout for Signs

by Marilynn Chadwick

Back in 1976, after I made the giant leap from unbeliever to believer, I was surprised to find I could actually sense God’s presence—he was real! What’s more, I discovered that if I was alert, I might catch tiny glimpses of his work all around me. The Bible calls these signs. The word sign means “direction, evidence, working” or even “fingerprints.” Signs reassure us that God has our life—including our problems—in his hands.

Nowadays, smartphones make it easy to capture a photo when we notice a sign from God. A printed photo can easily become an “Ebenezer Stone.” A few special photos have made their way into my Ebenezer Box. One reminds me of a time years ago when I was worried about our youngest child. Michael had just gotten his driver’s license—that in itself makes most moms worry. He was moving up to an elite division of his swim team to train with the older, more experienced swimmers. This meant he had to drive across town every afternoon on our city’s busiest interstate to a local university for practice. He was a young and inexperienced driver and the afternoon traffic hour was especially busy.

I prayed for the Lord to keep Michael safe and alert—especially when he was exhausted after a tough practice. One day, I was having a hard time releasing this worry into God’s hands. I had let my imagination run wild with "what if'" scenarios. What if he had a wreck, or ran out of gas, or got lost? I worried all that day and must have carried my anxieties to bed with me because I had a fitful night's sleep. I was worrying in my sleep when an audible voice whispered these words: “I can be trusted.” First person, singular. ”Who was that?” I wondered, now half-awake. “Did I just imagine that voice?” I thought to myself. 

I drifted back to sleep but the next morning, I distinctly remembered the voice and began to reflect on whether it was possible that God had been talking to me. During my usual morning quiet time, I happened to be reading the book of John. I was struck by Jesus's words to his disciples: "Trust in God. Trust also in me" (John 14:1 CEB).  There it was again. Trust in me—first person singular. Could that have been Jesus talking to me the night before in my sleep?

I desperately wanted to release my anxieties into God’s hands and trust him to care for our son. Why was this so hard? A few days later, I was worrying again. Suddenly, an inner voice—this time, not audible but very real—interrupted my anxiety with a question: “When are you going to trust me?” It was a gentle, but stern, rebuke—the same tone of voice I used with my kids when they weren’t listening to me. This time, I sensed right away it was the Lord.  

Our family left later that day for our vacation at the beach. We arrived after dark. I went out for a quick grocery store run, still having my ongoing conversation with God. Lord, can I really trust you? Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, like a beacon of light, flashed this sign in front of a small beach chapel. I had to smile as I wheeled into the parking lot to snap a photo. God must have a sense of humor because the sign simply said: “Trust Me –God.” You had better believe that photo now sits inside my Ebenezer Box as a wonderful reminder. Maybe you have a photo you need to add to your box? If not, keep your eyes open for one!

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