“We’ve come this far by faith leaning on the Lord; trusting in His Holy Word, he never failed me yet…” Carlton Pearson, “We’ve Come This Far By Faith”

I couldn’t help myself. I had to add a tree to our front yard. Honestly, I had a spot I always wanted to fill with a smaller, decorative tree. Kim wasn’t sure we needed it.

After Kim’s death and during my healing, I knew exactly what I was going to do.

One thing you miss when facing loss is the little repeated conversations that help you know a person. Kim loved Redbud trees. Every time we moved from colder to warmer temperatures, she loved the purple flowers on a Redbud tree and commented. Every time. Without fail. She loved the created wonder represented by that vibrant new growth every year. However, this reminds me of one thing that has always bothered me. Every time the topic came up. You see, in my opinion Redbud trees have purple flowers. I don’t want to argue about it, but I’m convinced. But I digress.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12

An Ebenezer is a reminder, a monument. We, the created, need to be reminded of how the Creator carries us on this journey through a broken world. We must place reminders on the journey as a part of the road maps we live out.

“Here I raise my Ebenezer. Here there by Thy great help I’ve come. And I hope by Thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home…” Robert Robinson, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

Celebration may sound like it’s too much of a stretch here, but it’s not. We celebrate our journeys. We mark our journeys with reminders. We may be mourning a loss, but we’re celebrating his presence. We celebrate his help. We celebrate his goodness. We really have come to this point by faith. Not by sight. Faith is not strong unless the object of the faith is strong. He is worth celebrating on a long and difficult road. Dare I say more so than other times?

God has been faithful to help me with great help like the hymn writer proclaims. Great help reveals the solid foundation. A solid stone-like foundation. I join Samuel in saying that “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” Samuel placed a stone as his Ebenezer. I needed a reminder, too, of his great help.

And I had a spot in the front yard that needed a tree.

So, here I raise my Ebenezer became here I raise my purple Redbud tree. It’s a celebration of the wonder of creative beauty. In purple Redbuds and in the gift of grace known as my bride.

He has led me this far by faith. I have leaned on the Lord. I have trusted in his Word. Through a long and unwanted journey, he has never failed me. So, I planted a tree.

Here I raise my purple Redbud tree.

“Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:13

2 Comments

  1. Greg Davis

    I finally caught up with your blogs! You told me about them last year, but I got a late start. So I’ve been reading for the last few weeks to get current.

    Your unwanted journey speaks to all of us in different ways. Loss comes in many forms. It could be the unexpected death of a spouse or a child. It could be a divorce that was never imagined. It could be a tragic accident that leaves us disabled in some way. It could be a diagnosis of an incurable disease. It could just be the loss of mobility and independence that comes with aging.
    But we all face loss at some point.

    You have accumulated some valuable advice as you have worked through your own deep loss. No one would choose this path, but could the growth you have experienced and the insights you have gained have come about any other way?

    I hope you’re planning to turn this into a book, because your writing deserves a broader audience.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thanks, Greg, for joining in this journey with me. And as my youth pastor–many, many years ago, you played a part in laying a foundation for me at a crucial time in my life. Thank you. I agree that much that I’ve learned applies to any type or dimension of loss. Thank you, brother.

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