Read Genesis 28:11-18. As you think back over the history of your corps, church, or place of worship, I am sure you are aware of both ups and downs in its life.
There will have been incredible high points – when all was good, when people were being saved, and when you could really sense the Holy Spirit moving – and some low points – when times were hard, when people drifted away, when there was conflict and difficulty.
When we are travelling on stony ground, when all is helpless, we often feel as if God is hiding from us. Where is he in all this mess?
Jacob had deceived his father Isaac into giving him his brother Esau’s blessing. He had fled for his life, travelling more than four hundred miles to escape his family. His life had turned to stone, just like the stone he laid his head on to sleep. He had not thought of God. Whether he had abandoned God or God had abandoned him mattered not. He was all alone.
But his deep, exhausted sleep became the place of God’s revelation. Suddenly, Jacob experienced the very real presence of God.
As Margaret Silf has pointed out, “we cannot manufacture the ladder ourselves”. We cannot conjure God out of thin air. But when we have sunk down into stillness and despair, God touches our hearts and we hear his still, small voice.
As both bodies of God’s people and as individuals, when we feel we have reached rock bottom, that is the very place that God can transform into a pool of grace.
Think It Over
Think about the following:
• Have you ever experienced the presence of God when you felt bereft, lonely, frightened, or exhausted? What was your response?