Can a Hallmark Card be an Ebenezer stone?
Several years ago, the Lord opened a time between me and someone I’d prayed a lifetime for. A time when he seemed genuinely receptive to some sharing about my prayers for him…in simple birthday or Christmas or just occasional thinking of you cards.
I’d written a different sort of prayer in my journal that season. Imagining what he may have been like as a little boy. I had a sudden picture of his heart for Christmas and music and family, how his roots shaped that heart … How the Lord had picked him up when he was hurt, held him close… How He still was… and wanted him to know…decades later, he was still his little lamb…
Should I share this with him, Lord? I prayed. One moment I thought it was the Holy Spirit’s leading. Then I would talk myself out of it. He’ll just think I’m crazy. This thought in my mind could be SO off…
Finally, I sort of laid out a fleece.
An unusual image came into my thoughts, wonderingly clear… a black and white, nostalgic photo sort of card. A little boy exulting in Christmas. I’d never seen one like it at the time. So I asked, Father, if YOU really want me to send this… lead me to the exact card I have in mind to go with it...
I hadn’t stepped into Hallmark five minutes when my eyes fell on this one... and my mouth dropped open. Shivers ran up my arms…and I… laughed. Oh…my…gosh!
Okay, You win, I said. And sealed my prayer with one more for good measure as I slipped it into the mail that day. I had no idea if it would really resonate, but oh, I prayed God would use both the card and the imaginative prayer to bring back some tender memories only he could know. Something that would bring Him as close as…maybe… the little boy he once was had known Him back then. That the Lord could touch him with how deeply he was known by our God. Because… whatever the memory would be… he would know I could not possibly have a clue. And he would see the Lord’s heart for him in it…
I don’t know all the ways God may have spoken through this card, used that specific prayer. But one year later, I learned of his all time favorite Christmas gift– a King bicycle as a boy. Like a whisper rippling over me, I imagined the unexpected whisk back in time grin that must have been on his face when he’d opened this card… that memory of the KING present wheeling joyfully back—
One of many unbelievable moments when God breathed His assurance and PEACE on me… Do not doubt I am in your prayers for this one…
I look at this sweet card and remember. This…this is a prayer promise, unwrapped. He mixes our prayers with His holy fire and pours them out at the right time… (Revelations 5 and 8)
Yes, an Ebenezer stone.
I thought I’d share another beautiful passage from D. E. Stevenson’s Vittoria Cottage today. I think because of my long time heart for prayer, this moving scene in portrait of Caroline Dering struck me particularly deeply. It makes me wonder, as I often do when reading D. E.’s work, if it may not have come out of a very true Holy Spirit-breathed moment of prayer in her own life. (Especially since she incorporated little moments of faith so naturally into her “secular” stories — in a time when there was no separate genre for inspirational.)
For these words, the sacred feel in the room she describes is one I have known too, in different circumstances… and brought tears to my eyes as I read and remembered this wonder of the Holy Spirit’s presence… The deeply knowing that He is right there, with you… lighting His candle of PEACE…skipping another Ebenezer stone across the waters of our lives…
“Inexperienced though she was Caroline saw at a glance that Sue was seriously ill. She had wondered once or twice if, perhaps, it were a false alarm and she had summoned Dr. Wrench from Wandlebury only to discover that his midnight drive through fog and darkness was unnecessary, but this was no false alarm. Sue was in pain, she was panic stricken and hysterical…and clung to Caroline with hot, damp hands.
“Oh, Mrs. Dering,” moaned Sue. “Oh my baby! It won’t live, I know it won’t! Oh, I’m frightened!… so terribly frightened!”
Caroline was frightened too, but she hid her feelings and busied herself about…Now having done all the preparations she could think of, Caroline sat down beside Sue and held her hand and prayed.
She had been frightened and miserable, her nerves tense with apprehension, the responsibility weighing upon her like lead, but gradually all fear and anxiety ebbed away and a flood of love and courage poured into her heart. She could feel it flowing through her and into the suffering girl like a warm comforting stream. Caroline did not move; she sat there quietly and let it flow — it was as easy as that — and presently Sue’s trembling hand relaxed and her moans ceased and there was silence in the room.
“What are you doing to me, Mrs. Dering?” whispered Sue.
“Loving you,” replied Caroline gently. “Shut your eyes, Sue.”
Sue sighed and shut her eyes.
It was very quiet now. A little breeze had sprung up and was whispering through the leaves of the ivy with which the cottage was covered… Minutes passed – or hours — Caroline did not know how long she sat there holding Sue’s hand. She felt peaceful and happy, she felt rested, there was no tension any more. She had ceased to strain towards the arrival of the doctor; she knew he would come and all would be well…
“Have you decided what you will call her?” Robert inquired.
“Caroline,” said the girl, looking down at the tiny face with brightness in her own… You see, Mrs. Dering is going to be her godmother — if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Dering she wouldn’t be here at all — so that’s why Jim and me are calling her Caroline…”
Sue had decided she wasn’t going to tell anybody about the strange, beautiful thing that had happened…not anybody at all, not Jim nor her mother, no not anybody. It was a secret between her and Mrs. Dering…and they had not even spoken of it to one another. She would never forget it of course; if she lived to be a hundred years old she would still remember that wonderful stream of peace and healing which had flowed into her…and she would remember the sound of Mrs. Dering’s voice when she had said, “Loving you. Shut your eyes, Sue...”
~ D.E. Stevenson, excerpt from Vittoria Cottage (written in 1949)
Do you recall a time when God whispered in and through your prayers – ”Peace Be?’ Or through someone else’s for you? And you marked it down, an Ebenzer stone for remembrance?
© Pam Depoyan