Samuel prayed for the Israelite soldiers, and God fought on their behalf. And then he took a few stones and piled them on one another. Tangible rocks to be a reminder. Don't forget how God has been so good to us. He named them Stones of Help, Ebenezer.
As we prepare to start a new year, I'm wondering about our piles of stones... the things we can do, and say, and write, and sing... things which will remind us that God has been good to us. Maybe it has to do with a long chat over tea talking about all God has done this year. Maybe it has to do with sitting around a bonfire talking about how God has worked in us. Maybe it has to do with taking a few stones and putting them beside the driveway as we remember that God has, indeed, been good.
Some of our stone towers will be impromptu. I hope they will. Some will be built out of the overflowing gratitude and wonder.
But there will be days - seasons - when it will be too hard to remember His goodness. And for those times, I want us to be prepared. I want us to have something to look at - something to touch - when we are forgetful of God's faithfulness.
I want to encourage you to keep a thankfulness journal. But, don't let the word "journal" scare you.
You'll need a calendar. Tie a pen to it. Each day, write something you're thankful for... maybe a verse you read, a song you heard, a breathtaking sunrise, the strength to get out of bed. Each day you will find something - something real and something beautiful - to be grateful for... even on those days when you feel that life has clouded your vision of God's goodness.
Keep your calendar close. The bathroom, The stack of books by your bed. Right on your office desk. The more accessible the place, the more you'll do it. And the more you do it, the more your eyes will be watching.
At the end of 2016, I don't know that you'll see that you got a great raise, or that the cancer has disappeared. But, I do know you will find that you weren't alone. That God never abandoned you. You'll find that being thankful makes a great way to live.