In my fast track through the Bible that I recently began, attempting (I said attempting, now!) to read the entire thing in 90 days, I am finding it both refreshing and amazing at the what I am picking up along the way. I haven't really come across things I've never seen, but I am being wonderfully reminded of many truths I've known for years, yet somehow ended up in the dusty reaches of my mind. Sure, from time to time, as situations would warrant, those truths would come out, but they aren't things that I'd thought and meditated on, at least not on any regular basis. Suddenly, the joy of God's Word, the pull of His Spirit, and the growth that results are overwhelming me. I love to pull out the truth of God's word, and get it into my heart.
One of those times came this morning as I read of the patriarch Jacob, and his mad dash out of Caanan, running as far from his brother that he had cheated as he could. As he made the journey to the far Haran, to his uncle Laban's house, he had a powerful encounter with the Lord as he slept. He saw a ladder that spanned from heaven down to earth. On that ladder, Jacob saw angels going up and down on it. The the Lord spoke to him, and promised to him the same thing that he had promised to his Dad, Isaac, and his grandfather before that, Abraham. He said that he would give him the land on which he was sleeping, the land of Caanan. He promised that his descendents would be innumerable, and that through him, the families of the earth would be blessed. And then God told Jacob what has stuck with me all day long now:
"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land…" (Gen. 28:15)
That is the part that gets me. When I read about the life of this man called Jacob, I am not reading a lot that says he was a man of faith that always made God happy. In fact, Jacob spent much of his life scheming, lying nd cheating to get his way. That was why he was on the run from his brother, Esau. Yet, in spite of his mistakes, his plans, and his scheming ways, God was with him! Even though he messed up royally, God didn't give up on the plans He had for this man. Friends, that is a comfort to me. I may not be a cheat, but let me be honest. There are times I let my own ideas get In God's way. There are times that my worries push me to lean on my own understanding to fix my messes. That is a big no-no, when one considers that the Scripture teaches that we are to trust in God, and not trust our natural understanding above God (Prov. 3). Yet, as much as I've messed things up, God is still directing my steps and making me that man He's called me to be. What does the New Testament say? "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28) That means to me that God isn't afraid of my mistakes. He doesn't wash His Hands of me when I fail. He picks me up, dusts me off, and uses that experience to mold me. Friends, God isn't joking when He tells us this precious truth. How amazing and how deep is His love and grace for us!
Now, I know that God isn't trying to bring us into a physical piece of real estate as He was with Jacob. The Lord Jesus has place of promise for us, though. He has a destiny for us. He alone sees the final picture of what we are to become. So let Him work out His will in your life through this time of testing. It may be painful now, but the time will come later on when you will look back and be thankful for what you've endured. Once you've passed through, you will be able to say with confidence, "It was worth it all!"