From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well. Genesis 26:23-25
Has God spoken to you in the land of your youth? Have you visited your birthplace, prayerfully pondered your beginnings, and tried from an adult’s perspective to discern God’s purposes? If so, I hope you landed on the theological truth that not one detail of your life was a mistake from the vantage point of God’s sovereignty.
Isaac visited home after he had lived a long time, too. He went home to Beersheba, the land of his youth. It is there that God spoke to him. He heard the same blessing that his father heard so many years ago. It was there that he dug another well, and providentially, found water.
Going back home to visit is a different experience for each person. While it can be wonderful for one, it can be extremely painful for another. One thing is certain; it reveals whether or not I have made peace with my past. It doesn’t even require visiting the house where I grew up. (Most can’t do that anyway.) All I have to do is take a day and walk down a few familiar streets. Memories will come flooding back.
There are truths I must embrace as God’s child. There was a blessing for me in my beginnings. God promised to be with me. I can claim that for the present but fail to know it regarding the past as I review my life from a school playground. The promise can be real about my future but vague as I process memories from my adolescence.
Isaac went home to spend his final years where it all began. He found God there! Can’t you feel the peace in that statement? So it is with my life. I will have no strong purpose or closure if I can’t make peace with the past. God’s voice can be heard in my childhood, but I must be willing to hear it. Proclamations of love and blessing grate against my heart’s grain if I’m unwilling to pursue the treasures of the darkness from days long ago. They’re there, and they’re abundant, but are found in the wisdom and compassion of a Father who promises to redeem every single thing that stunted my growth. Until now . . .
You didn’t arrive on the scene halfway through my life and ignore my beginnings. Help me see evidence of your blessing and care in every season of my life. Amen