In Genesis, chapter 28, verses 10-22: 10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
I know you’ve heard this story. I know you’ve heard me tell you why it’s so important. But it doesn’t hurt to hear it again. Some of us are moving to new homes in new towns. Some of us are welcoming new grandchildren. Some of us are struggling through transitions, celebrating transitions, probably struggling and celebrating at the same time. Some of us are graduating, and some of us are the parents of those graduating.
There is a joy in growth, but there is also a pain in the growing as well. We have been conditioned to eliminate (and if we can’t, ignore) that pain, but that pain is just as much a part of the growth as the joy. Most experiences, if we are engaged and authentic, are bittersweet, equally heartbreaking and euphoric. It’s the 2 hands theology; we hold everything with 2 hands. One hand is for the loss that is present in every change, the other is for the hope and wonder of those changes. In both hands is presence, beauty, depth, in both hands is boundless love.
It’s a short one today. Lean in, see that the LORD is surely in this place, shout “How awesome is this place!!!” And really live these amazing gifts He given of here, now, grace, peace, breath, this season, this day, and each other.