I was doing some light dusting the other day since I was expecting some company. It seems like most of my cleaning these days is light. “A lick and a promise,” I used to hear my mother say. I didn’t really know what it meant then. Now I say it quite often when I do a little of something with the promise I’ll do more later.
While I was lightly dusting the living room, I came to a large piece of furniture Sweet William and I salvaged years ago. It was actually an old record player in its youth, the kind that also stored records and was built into a massive cabinet. None of the works was in it when we bought it, but we could see its potential. Bill, being the handyman that he is, put in a newer, more modern sound system. We now enjoy music that we can even control with a remote, something the original builder of the cabinet would not have dreamed of.
There are great black and whites of the three grandchildren some years back.
Close beside it is the picture of my dad and step-mother, Esther, at their wedding day.
Recently, I added a photo of Bill and me, quite a bit younger when his hair was black and mine was what he calls auburn.
The photos make a nice grouping of my immediate family members.
There are other things mixed in with the pictures that I realize have become very meaningful as I take in the scene as a whole. There is an old kerosene lamp sitting in the back right corner, behind the photographs.
In the forefront is an item I remember being in parent’s home. It is a small, old, wooden-looking plaque, framed in faux twigs. There is a tiny picture of Jesus on the left, you know the one that used to hang in every small church in the country. On the plaque are printed words that have worn to a golden patina:
“The Eternal GOD is Thy REFUGE.” Deut. 33:27
I pass that grouping quite often through the week, as I turn on the radio or CD player, as I walk to the piano to play a song, or when my piano students come for lessons. I glance at those pictures of my family, sometimes stopping to examine those dear faces.
I realized this week, during my light dusting, that the display on the old cabinet is a sort of memorial. The lamp represents the Light that shined on my parents’ pathway first and has permeated the hearts of each one of us in turn. The angel sits as a reminder that guardian angels encamp around those who fear God and have tasted His salvation and found it to be good. And the little plaque says what I know to be true, that yes, the eternal God is our refuge!
That truth has been proven to me for such a long time. Through the thick and the thin of my days, in good times and bad, when we are healthy and when we are not, in life as well as in death, God has never failed to be the only refuge that remains stable in an unstable world.
I don’t worship there like it’s a shrine or expect that this vignette is somehow holy. But it seems to be my “Ebenezer.”
The word Ebenezer means “stone of help,” and is explained in I Samuel 7. The story goes that the prophet Samuel took a stone and set it up at as a monument, something to remind the Israelites of the victory they had won by the help of their God. He called the stone “Ebenezer.”
My grouping there on the old record player cabinet is my reminder . . . a visual of how God’s grace has flowed down. I need to be reminded. Sometimes I stop there and declare it out loud, “The eternal God IS our refuge.”
Too often my eyes get focused somewhere else. Problems loom large in my vision. Feelings overshadow my faith. All that can block what I know to be true, that God is never far away, that He does hear my prayers, that He speaks peace to my heart and tells me “Do not be afraid.”
When I need a safe place, a strong and sure haven of protection, I can always run to the eternal God, to my Savior and Lord, who has always been, who is now, and forever will be my refuge.
I’m not a great photographer, as you can tell. But I hope you enjoyed the visit in my living room.
Do you have a memorial in your home?