No one enjoys the hard places of life, but sometimes they’re the richest.
Genesis 28 tells the story of Jacob traveling to his uncle Laban’s home. This wasn’t a joy ride. He was running from his twin brother who wanted to kill him for stealing his blessing. (Genesis 27:41-45)
One night, Jacob set up camp and found—get this—a stone—yes, a stone—for a pillow. Can you imagine trying to sleep on a rock? I can’t. The guy must have been completely exhausted to fall into a deep sleep under those circumstances.
As Jacob slept, he dreamt of a stairway that reached from earth to heaven. He saw the angels of God going up and down, and the LORD stood at the top and spoke reassuringly to him. (Genesis 28:13-15) When he woke, he said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it” (Genesis 28:16).
This account is only a few verses long, but it packs important truths for us to apply when we experience the hard places of life:
God knows where we are at all times.
We might end up camped in a hard, unfamiliar, uncomfortable place and we might feel all alone there, but He is with us in that place. Just as He did not abandon Jacob, so He will never leave or forsake us. (Joshua 1:9)
God reveals Himself to us there.
“I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father, Isaac,” He declared to Jacob in a dream. (Genesis 28:13) He wants to reveal Himself to us, too. For reasons known only to Him, the hard places of life are often where we experience those revelations best. Let’s reframe the way we regard those places, then—not as places to avoid at all cost, but as places to enter with courage and expectancy knowing God wants to deepen our friendship with Him there.
God’s presence can go unnoticed There.
Sad but true. When we’re in the midst of a hard place, we might become focused on our loneliness or pain and completely forget that God is still actively engaged in our lives. When that’s the case, we become vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks and lose hope. Let’s ask Him to keep us ever mindful of His presence and watch for evidences that He is there.
Jacob made another statement that captures my attention. He said, “What an awesome place this is!” (Genesis 28:17)
My human nature wants to respond, “Seriously? A hard place is an awesome place?” But then I think about the amazing God-encounter Jacob experienced that night, and I have to agree with him. If life’s hard places mean experiencing God in new ways, then they are awesome indeed.
How have you found a hard place to be a place of growth and experiencing God more intimately?
Be blessed today with this song by Lincoln Brewster. Let’s choose to worship and trust the Lord while we wait in life’s hard places.