Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” (Genesis 28:16)
Relate: There were about six of us sitting around the table playing Monopoly. Normally, any story that starts this way will not end well. I tend to be a wee bit competitive and so does pretty much everybody in my family. I remember playing at my apartment with a few cousins when two of us ganged up on the third cousin’s fiance in an attempt to force her into bankruptcy. Our engaged cousin got so angry at us he stood up and flipped the table before storming off into his room. Poor Jen just sat there in awkward silence before saying, “Yeah, he loves me.” Another time, in Bible college, a guy jumped over a bed to physically attack me when he got so mad. Oh wait, that was playing Risk. Nevermind. Among some family I still have to try and live down a reputation of cheating because my attempts to help myself to the bank were so prevalent when I played this game (Monopoly, not Risk, or perhaps both… and a few other games as well). So let’s just say that my Monopoly playing has not always been so wholesome.
Getting back to the story I was going to lead in with, this game was different. We were playing along but the conversation was only half on the game itself. Even more, it was going deeper and deeper into the subject of money in relation to God. What does the church, and the Bible have to do with tithing? Why have certain people made vows of poverty and is there any spiritual benefit in doing so? Monopoly got us talking about money which got us talking about God and, after a while, we all realized that nobody had taken a turn for a good long while. Nobody could remember whose turn it was and nobody even cared. God had invaded our game and all of us, four Christians and two nonchristians, were having church. Surely the Lord was in this place and none of us were even aware of it.
React: Have you ever had one of those moments? Have you ever been walking down the street when something, the wind… a butterfly… it could even be pigeon poop, whatever, opens up a spiritual truth, or an epiphany, or simply felt you had to burst out in praise? It can happen. Anytime. Anywhere. You can just be going on about your day when suddenly God shows up. He invades your life. For Jacob, he was on the run for his life. It would be like taking a nap at a bus terminal when suddenly the hallway doesn’t lead to the restrooms but rather to the pearly gates. Angels are walking back and forth down that hall and God Himself is at the far end and says, “You’re running now but you’ll come back. The whole time you’re gone, you aren’t gone from me. I’ll be right with you. I will protect you. I’ve got you, Jake. I’ve got you.”
I know there are hundreds of people who will read this. For some, the message is simply to be aware. Keep your eyes open for those epiphanies. Stay ready for those moments when God invades the random with His presence. He loves to do it. That was what I intended on writing about today. There are a few of you, maybe just one, that I feel God is telling you something more. You feel like a failure. You feel like you’ve run from your family, your responsibilities, maybe even your God. I don’t know your situation in this moment but He does, and what He told Jacob that evening He is saying to you. “I’m still with you. I’ve never left. You might have run but I am bringing you back. I’ve got this, just trust me. I’ve got this.”
Invade our moments. Show up in those random times when we had no idea. Come into our lives in ways unexpected and unlooked for. We long for You. Let us see Your glory in the wind on the grass. Let us hear Your voice on the snow blowing down when all we want to do is get out of the cold. Let us recognize Your face in the stranger we bump into while buying groceries. Help us to feel Your hand in those lonely solitary moments when no one can see our tears. Where ever we are at, speak to each us in a way that is extremely unique and intensely personal. Speak to us. Let us know that You are still here. You are still in control. You’ve got this.