Between a Rock and a Hard Place
We are studying Genesis at church and when I get to the place where Jacob is fleeing for his life after stealing Esau’s birthright and blessing, I am always reminded of the worst night of my life – 11/5/10 when Jim left earth for heaven and I had my own dark night of the soul. There in our family room, like Jacob in the place to be named Bethel, I also had my holiest moment – when Jesus literally came in our midst in the middle of worship to carry Jim home. Like Jacob’s vision of angels ascending on his dark hard night, I also remember the vision Jim had when the cancer was first diagnosed. For several weeks Jim saw Jesus praying over us.
One of my favorite quotes comes to mind. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in Aurora Leigh:
Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes – The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
Often God is present in our lives but we fail to recognize it. Jacob said after an encounter with the Holy One: When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (Gen 28:16)
It seems a natural part of human nature that we are more predisposed to sit around and pluck blackberries (or the modern equivalent) than to perceive the presence of God, take off our shoes, and worship. It is so easy to focus on our situation because it is the primary thought and conversation of the day. This is really just another chance for God to show up. I know that God is bigger than my darkest hardest moments in this life and He meets me in them; hopefully I will keep notice! I also believe that Jim’s vision was a reminder of God’s presence, which we are to proclaim, rather than overlook. God took a rock and a hard place for Jacob and made it a holy meeting place. Perhaps he is does that for each of us too.
God, once again, is breaking into our world saving, shining, healing, restoring and we are part of the shimmers of His presence. Wow! I hope you will take off your shoes and worship with me. (and then we can eat berries!)