So I’ll just admit this right up front: My head is not organized today. There’s a lot swirling around in there that I just can’t seem to file in neat and orderly form, so I hope you’re up to spending a little more effort in reading my thoughts today. You may need to sort things out more than usual.
Or, hey, maybe we’ll both just depend on the Spirit’s teaching here. That might be the most reliable plan. I’ll type and you read and — Lord, open our eyes and ears to whatever You’re saying to us today.
Genesis is difficult reading, did you know that? There’s story after story of God’s interaction with the people He’s created, but there’s also so many things set in the culture of those times that I just do not understand. And as I read, all these questions pop into my head that currently have no answers. But then there are also those gems that grab me, shake me, and say, “Pay attention. This is you!”
There’s the story of Jacob. Sometimes he’s the good guy, sometimes the bad guy. In Chapter 28, he’s on the run because he’s cheated his brother and his brother is now scheming to kill him. (No, this is not yet the part that applies to me.)
He’s on his way back to his mother’s country where he hopes to stay until his brother cools off. One night he has a dream. He sees a stairway that reaches up to heaven, and angels are going up and down the stairs. The Lord stands at the top of the stairway and He speaks to Jacob, confirming the same promise He had given to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham.
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” (Genesis 28:16-17)
Now that is the verse I cannot forget. The Lord is in this place — and I was not even aware of it! How many days do we slog through, failing to see God right there with us?
Jacob thought he stood at the gateway to heaven. We stand IN heaven now, through Christ ushering us into God’s very presence. We are living in that kingdom. In my 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86400 seconds today, how many of those are soaked with an awareness of the Lord being present in this place in my life? How often we miss the awesomeness of His presence!
The second thing that I must write about today (because if I don’t write these things now, I cannot concentrate on anything else) is Mr. Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. Sold into slavery by his jealous older brothers. All alone in a foreign land. He has no contact with his family. Even when things do seem to be turning around for him and he lands a great job with a boss who likes and trusts him, he ends up in jail as a result of doing the right thing. He sits in jail for over two years. Again, because he did the right thing. One man could have saved him, but he forgot Joseph. I wonder what young Joseph is thinking during those years in jail.
Fast forward a number of years, after Joseph is finally released and has become second in command to Pharaoh himself. He has a wife and children. And he named one son Ephraim, saying, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief” (Genesis 41:52).
Fruitful in a land of grief. Ah, Lord, may I have the grace to say that. May I have the open eyes to see that. To see Your presence at every step of my journey, in every land through which I travel, in lands of grief, lands of pain, and lands of laughter and joy. May I see Your gifts bestowed every day because You are here in whatever place I am in right now — I am living right here in Your kingdom.
And that is tied to the third thing I must share with you, a recent blog from an Everyday Servant. He begins with a plea that I’ll bet you’ve prayed yourself: “Please God, save me from today!” It will take you less than a minute to read, but I hope all these jumbled thoughts come together today and remind us all that the Lord is in whatever place we are today.
Blessings on your day in His awesome presence.
Joseph is one of the most honorable men of the Old Testament. He had every right to be angry and bitter, but instead he chose to trust in the Lord…and to forgive his brothers. I know I’ve read that verse before, but I had not thought about being “fruitful in a land of grief.” Something to ponder upon.
Yes, we read so much about the amazing things God did in his life that we do not dwell much on the really miserable things that happened to him — and the times of “waiting” that he had to endure.
Elaine, What a great post. Your blog has been a blessing to me since I found it recently. Thanks for the mention of my blog-Everyday Servant-in this post.