Years ago, I spent four enlightening years walking the rolling hills of a liberal arts college.  I sought a degree in Religion, naively thinking that it would equip me for ministry work, specifically children’s ministry.  However, as I looked over the course listings, I found classes like “Sociology of Religion,” "History of Theology," “Philosophy of Religion,” and “Basketball as Religion.”  I quickly realized that my conservative, Christian worldview was about to be shaken, and it was!

Like the Israelites in our story from last week (1 Samuel 7), I was surrounded by new people with new ideas and opinions.  In this barrage I became confused about who God really is and like the Israelites, I worried and mourned for quite some time.

Then I found a small church in my college town.  The minister there reminded me to put away my idols and cry out to God.  And, I did.  I let go of commitments that interfered with my time at church, I studied the Bible on my own, and I respectfully shared and defended my faith to those who would question it.

Though it was sometimes painful, I am so grateful for my time of testing while at college. What kept me turned toward the Lord was the realization that my faithful God had led me there and kept me safe that far. The challenging and testing of my beliefs only convinced me more of the peace that only comes from Christ.  So, just like Samuel, I too raise my Ebenezer because so far the Lord has helped me.  And I am confident that He will lead me on.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10