Every blog needs a mascot, right? Well, maybe not every blog, but this morning I decided this one does. Before I introduce him, a little backstory on where he came from.
Boston is one of my favorite places to visit, and when I was there last October, we got this great picture of a squirrel in Boston Common. The squirrels there ignore people most of the time, instead of running away like squirrels usually do. But this one was not afraid of us at all; he walked right up and stared us down. He stayed like this long enough for us to take a picture and was still around after we walked away. For squirrels, fear of humans is a learned behavior and, in some environments, they just go about their business, unconcerned.
He was a great contrast to the “squirrel moments” dogs (and people) have when they are “distracted by random nothingness.” The Facebook page where I share this blog is called “A place to inject hopeful reminders of eternity into the distraction that is Facebook.” I’ve used this squirrel as my social media picture before to joke that it was the best way to draw attention, and if people are easily distracted by squirrels, why not use one to distract people toward the blog?
So, this squirrel is now the mascot for Driving Toward Morning! But he needs a name. What to call him?
Many people know the name Ebenezer from Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, but in the Bible an Ebenezer is a stone monument constructed as a tangible and visible reminder of God’s past help for His people. Ebenezer means “stone of help,” and such monuments were built in Genesis 28:18, 35:14, Joshua 4:9, 1 Samuel 7:12 and elsewhere. Only this morning did I make the connection that when I write, I’m often trying to create a type of written Ebenezer.
For example, inspired by a devotional about Ephesians 2:4, I wrote a post about the power of the words “but God.” In it, James Montgomery Boice says: “The words ‘but God’ show what God has done. If you understand those two words – ‘but God’ – they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely.”
So, I’ve decided to name him “Ebenezer, the ‘But God…’ Squirrel,” but you can just call him Ebenezer. Whenever I see Ebenezer, I hope to be pulled back into awareness of God’s help when I am distracted or frustrated. I hope to be reminded to store up treasure in heaven as squirrels store food for the winter. I hope to fear God and not man. I hope to be encouraged to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), as every squirrel I see reminds me that interrupting the seeming chaos of the world with “but God” can change everything.
Next time, and every time, you see a squirrel, I hope you are reminded of the same. The world is not random, and God is relevant to your situation, whatever it is.
If you’re ever in Boston and see Ebenezer, say hello to him for me.
 From “November 7.” James Montgomery Boice and Marion Clark. Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment. (2017).