I Didn’t Know It
As I was talking to a friend a few days ago, he used a term to address the pandemic that I hadn’t thought of before. He works for a disaster relief agency, so it was natural for him to use that terminology. We are living through a disaster. It has had disastrous consequences in ending lives, devastating the economy, loss of jobs, and it has disrupted our educational and religious systems. I just had not thought of using that term disaster, but it is.
I’ve lived through some personal and natural disasters. A few months ago, before life was turned upside down, I was out of town trying to enjoy a hotel breakfast. Not far away were two women who were talking about their experiences after Katrina. I didn’t want to be an eavesdropper, but that certainly caught my attention. If I were an extrovert I would have joined in with the conversation that was being held only about 4 feet away from me (no social distancing). But I didn’t. I listened as they described how things felt and what they had to endure. I could relate. One thing I know, as I look back at those couple of years, is that God was by our side the entire time.
Speaking of overhearing conversations, Genesis 27 allows us to overhear the development of a conspiracy between Jacob and his mother Rebecca. It was their goal to make sure that Esau didn’t get his father’s blessing. They planned it perfectly. By the time Esau realized he wasn’t going to get a blessing from his father, that it had been given to his brother, Jacob was long gone. Honestly, Jacob’s character left a lot to be desired.
On his journey to Paddan Aram to find a wife, he stopped for the night. He retrieved a stone for a pillow and fell asleep. Genesis 28:12 tells us, “He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” At the top of the stairwell is the Lord, who repeats the promises he made long ago to Abraham. When Jacob woke up his observation was this: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”
As I write about UNCERTAINTY and the struggle of faith, I know I’m not addressing everyone. But maybe there is someone who needs to know this: If a scoundrel like Jacob can be given great promises by God and become aware that God is with him, then you should never lose hope either.
I wonder if, on the other side of this disaster, we might realize that God is in this pandemic, and we were not aware of it. It is a good thing to count your blessings each day, even on hard days. Keep your eyes open for God to be at work, because He surely is. Never give up praying to Him and seeking Him. Try to be the presence of God in serving and loving others as you are able. Even after all of that, though, I do think we will step out of the foggy mental state that disaster brings and notice some ways that God has been at work and we didn’t know it.
So if you take a moment and read through this episode of Jacob’s life (Genesis 28:10-19), you could make the following connections to what we are going through today.
*Find time to rest. The journey we’re on is taking a lot out of our spirits.
*Remember the spiritual battle that is going on around you. Jacob dreamed of angels, and God’s angels are ministering to us in unseen and unheard ways. God has not left us alone.
*God is fully aware of your story. He begins with Jacob by recounting his heritage of faith in Abraham and Isaac. God knows your story of faith also – not a perfect one – but one that perfectly continues toward His heart.
*God will never forget his promises. God reminds Jacob of the promises he made to Abraham, and assures Jacob that He intends to fulfill them. We can spend time reading through the promises of God in our Bibles and we can be assured that He intends to keep every one of them.
*We can be reminded of the kind of relationship we have with our Abba Father. He will use us to bless others. He will always be with us. He will not leave us.
“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” – Genesis 28:16
In moments of uncertainty, take a moment to think about the things you know are true. They are true whether you feel them or experience them or sometimes wonder if they really are true. Most of us have walked this path of faith long enough to have had some times when we said, like Jacob, God was with me and I didn’t even know it at the time. Don’t ever give up. Always remember, Out Here Hope Remains.
This short series of posts are exploring the idea of UNCERTAINTY: Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic. Thanks for sharing if you felt it an encouragement.