GIVING UP ON MY SURROUNDINGS
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:16-17
Places can hold bad memories whether it’s a place I used to live, a school I used to attend, or even a playground I was bullied on. The thought of it at this moment might bring distaste to my mouth. Maybe a ‘place’ pops into your mind as you read this as it does mine.
What’s even more difficult is when my present surroundings are painful. I can’t push memories of it to the back of my mind. Somehow, I must cope to live in it. Though physically present, I can still cause my heart to check out, giving up on anything good coming out of my environment.
What if I told you that God wants to enter the place of bad memories? What if you knew, like Jacob, that some common ordinary setting could be a holy place, a house of God and the gateway to heaven? Perhaps you believe, as I did, that God only enters holy places. Consider Jacob. Fleeing the place of his sin and on a journey to find a wife, he picks a place on the side the road to sleep. All that exists is wilderness and a rock for a pillow. God shows up to mark the spot that will forever be holy to Jacob.
What limits my experience of God usually has nothing to do with God but everything to do with me. Living in the land of disappointment, I stop hoping, stop asking, and stop looking up. I assume that God would never choose to dwell in such a place. Too much bad has gone down.
If I knew the power of God and knew how badly He wants me to seek Him in every place I live, play, and work…. then I would be rushing in wide-eyed to see what will happen when He appears. God goes where He is wanted.
Maybe as you read this, you’re sitting in your painful place. Already today, tears have fallen there, angry words were spoken there, hopeless rhetoric erupted there. This is the beginning of hope, not the end. Seek God. He longs to hear:
“Come, Lord Jesus! Make this your gate of heaven.”
Journal Question:As you think about asking God to come to your place of bad memories, what internal objections try to overrule? Write them down. Look at them. Consider what you would tell a friend who shared these objections with you. Take your own advice.