it takes some longer than others to get there.
God steps into your path
in an effort to get your attention . . .
O, he comes in different ways -
an invitation from a friend, a tug of the heart.
Hope in the middle of the toughest times~
an awareness of the Divine not yet acted upon,
a face to face peek at our own mortality.
You look up and think about it,
Even consider responding to his gentle bidding--
but once again choose to override,
an illusion of maintaining control.
Master of your own fate,
Captain of your soul.1
It takes some of us longer than others to respond to God, and of course, some never do. Guess I always thought 'The Patriarchs' were heroes, a set-apart breed, a royalty of role models. Hmmm, maybe not so much. Abram truly was a great hero for his strong faith which led him to obedience, God changing his name to 'Abraham,' Father of multitudes.1
But for every individual, faith is a journey, usually a process. . . even for the patriarchs.
Continuing our look at why study of the Old Testament is imperative to a strong Christian faith, we look further into the book of Genesis. Follow my thought process here to see the start of Judaism, the lineage from which our Lord will be born: Abraham's promised beloved son, Isaac, clearly had faith in God at a young age, because we know that he trusted so much that as a young man-obedient to his father's bidding-- he climbed onto an altar to be sacrificed, having carried the very wood that would make of him a pyre. (At the last moment, God provided a ram in the thickets - a substitute that saved him3. . . a prefiguring of the Messiah to come.)
Understand, all of the Old Testament writings point to Jesus,
the One who was to come, the One who was to save,
the One who would give us access,
right standing and personal relationship with God the Father.
Here in Genesis, we see God indeed fulfills his promise to Abraham with a son through whom all nations would be blessed. Isaac's faith journey is a bit more passive than his father's, but nonetheless, he is next in line as a patriarch in the founding of the nation of Israel. He fathers twins, Esau and Jacob, with Jacob being the son through whom the covenant would go forth.
STOP THE PRESSES. We began looking at this guy, Jacob, last time
in "The Struggle is Real," seeing that so often dysfunctional families
spawn dysfunctional kids - families of origin often being the place
where deception, mental illness (and even addiction) are born.
'Discovering that, in short, hurt people hurt people.
The manipulator, Jacob, who swindles the birthright/blessing from older brother, Esau, has to run for his life, discovers what goes around is often what comes around. In Laban, Jacob meets his match.4 When he turns around to come home, Jacob arrives back in Canaan with 11, soon to be 12, sons. He comes back a man desperate to make things right, including with God. Genesis chapter 32 recounts a remarkable wrestling match from which Jacob demands a blessing before he will let go . . . receives a new name, "Israel," meaning God Fights, and gets up with a limp. Hence the name of the chosen children of God and today the tiny nation about the size of New Jersey.
Took Jacob longer to respond to God's call on his life, that is for sure. From a young age, he had been taught that taking charge and even being deceitful to stay 'in control' was the necessary thing. That is not how relationship with God works - it requires our surrender to him, letting him be the Master of our Destiny, the Captain of our souls.
Desperate people who reach for God come different.
It is only in humility of spirit that we can truly encounter God.
So here we see Jacob the manipulator become Jacob, man of God.
Which begs the question . . .
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when has God stepped into your path
and extended his hand to you, Friend?
If you stop and think about it, I imagine it has been often.
Why not reach back and take his hand?
Relationship with God - it takes some of us longer than others to get there, but the important thing is to get there ~ richness in this life and eternity in the presence of Love.
'need prayer on this? email me! I will send you my phone number and I will pray with you personally!
1 - last two lines of Invictus, the poem by William Ernest Henley
2 - Genesis 17.5-6
2 - Genesis 22.13
4 - Genesis 30