One of the hardest spiritual battle we ever fight is the battle to lay down our right to know what God is doing.” – Beeson and Hunsicker
“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” – Genesis 28:16
What is your WISH LIST of awesomest places to see in your lifetime?
Is it the sun rising over Machu Picchu? The Aurora Borealis in Alaska? The Louvre?
What about right now? Perhaps all you want is a simple and quiet sundown view on the shores of Corregidor, stretched on a hammock, a soothing drink in your right hand, other arm under your head, totally rid of the ubiquitous gadgets (and people!), quietly enjoying a rare, precious laidback moment?
How about finding yourself somewhere you never expected or planned, but it turns out to be the awesomest place in the world?
You see, Jacob of the Old Testament visited a place that changed his life forever. He was just passing by for the night. In fact, it wasn’t in his itinerary at all. But when he got up the following morning, he was never the same again. Why? Because God spoke to him!
‘When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “HOW AWESOME IS THIS PLACE! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”’ (Genesis 28:16-17)
We know that he’s the guy running from tons of issues in his life. And with a name like that (his name means “deceiver.” But don’t worry. God changed it later to something far nicer), one would think, how could God grant him so much grace, so much mercy? He tricked his family. His own brother wanted to kill him. And now, God was giving him a promise? Of protection. Of a bright future.
Whuuut? Are you kidding me?
This tells us a lot about God, though I admit it’s difficult to understand. “How could He be so merciful?” you ask, each of the thousand times you let Him down. But it’s comforting to note that even in our most horrible shape, we can never get rid, let alone run away, from God’s GRACE (a.k.a ‘unmerited favor’).
Are you somewhere you didn’t plan to be?
Is it nothing but DARKNESS? Is it lonely, ugly, dangerous? Wherever you are, the most important thing is the SENSING OF HIS PRESENCE. Where is He in this place, where is He in this situation? Upon realizing God was there, Jacob worshiped. He built an ALTAR to God. And that place, which they used to call with some not-so-significant name, was now called “Bethel,” the House of God. Don’t be surprised if after all this time, as you complained, cried, and miserably dragged yourself around, the ground where you’re standing on is actually HOLY GROUND. God’s stairway to Heaven. The very House of God!
For a child of God, it doesn’t matter where or how. All that matters is where the Father is. There is our home. There is our rest. You will realize you have not been alone all this time, in that dark alley where you are. And as you sense His Presence, you can joyfully exclaim like Jacob, “How awesome is this place!”