Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. Genesis 28:20-21
Any part of me that has yet to experience God can impair my relationship with God. A wound, a deep fear, my inexperience with Him relationally; all of these can make me skittish to trust Him. Internally, the stakes feel high and I’m not quite sure He’s going to come through for me. The only promises my heart knows I can count on the ones that I’ve already experienced. The others require faith.
Just so I can learn from Jacob’s story, how was he impaired? He had just had a dream where he saw the heavens opened and angels were coming and going. God spoke to him and introduced Himself as the God of Abraham and Isaac. God never added, “And I am the God of Jacob.” The relationship hadn’t become personal and real yet. Jacob’s heart was nervous, I believe. He might have rehearsed, “Just because God loved my father doesn’t mean He loves me!” Jacob needs to know where he stands with God and so makes this bargain. ‘If you will be with me, preserve me, provide for me, and bring me home again to the family I just injured beyond repair, then I’ll know that you’re my God.’
I cannot exist on second hand faith either. Coasting on another’s encounter with God doesn’t change my personal life. I tried it for 40+ years. I surrounded myself with iconic men of God. I heard their stories of spiritual conquest. I read biographies of spiritual giants and admired God from afar. Though I knew a lot and had seen a lot (just like Jacob who grew up in the house of a patriarch), God had never been put to the test in my faithless life. I was always the mute in the company of those who gave testimonies.
God needed to intersect my story at my places of fear and failure. God began to bring crises that would cast me into powerlessness in order to give me the opportunity to put Him to the test. He is a kind Father and does not want me live with impaired faith. Every promise is meant to be mine but it must be tested where I am broken if God is to become real.
Ah, but I have a testimony now. I’m so glad my heart is spilling over. Amen
Journal Question: Are you bored with God? Would you describe your Christian as disappointing, or at the very least, dull? Connect the dots, prayerfully, with today’s devotional.