By Melissa McLaughlin
Seeing God With Us
It was a simple thing. My husband and I paused for a brief rest.
The daily grind of laundry, bills, cooking, and errands hemmed us in like hamsters on an exercise wheel. Despite running as hard as possible, the finish line appeared just out of reach.
At one point, I glimpsed out the window and stopped in my tracks. Autumn leaves in all their glory called to us. My husband and I scurried outside with a fresh sparkle in our eyes.
We pulled out lawn chairs, sat under the trees in our backyard, and beheld this wonder. Leaves of golden yellow, deep red, and vibrant orange danced on the branches in fall’s grand finale. A puff of wind here and there brought handfuls of leaves fluttering down like confetti in a ticker tape parade.
We gazed at this marvelous scene in hushed, reverent silence.
In the stillness, I felt the majesty of God. Suddenly I could hear the song of the birds and the rattle of leaves as the wind blew. Squirrels chased back and forth in the trees and in the distance, a dog barked for joy.
With the earlier hurried pace, I couldn’t recognize God’s fingerprints in the world around me. But when I slowed down and turned my mind to God, I perceived that the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.
Sometimes life wraps us up like a ball of twine. Perhaps it is an illness, caring for family, loss of a loved one, or a job change. Perhaps conflicts at work or the paychecks don’t cover the bills.
Sometimes, simply the busyness of life or even church life entangles us.
May we step away today and discern anew that the Lord is in this place.
The Lord is in This Place and I Did Not Know It
In a recent reading of Scripture, I recalled Jacob’s vision of angels. In Genesis 28:12, Jacob 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.
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” (Genesis 28:16).
Where do we see this refrain again?
This Lord is in This Place
Interestingly, while first calling His disciples, Jesus told Nathaniel He saw him under a fig tree and knew his nature. Nathaniel was amazed at Jesus’ knowledge.
Jesus responded in John 1:15 – “Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
The similar descriptions of angels ascending and descending by Jacob (in Genesis 28) and then by Jesus (in John 1) made me curious. Jesus undoubtedly intended His hearers to tie these verses together, given their knowledge of Old Testament Scripture.
The passage in Genesis 28 is sometimes referred to as Jacob’s ladder. We know from New Testament Scriptures that Jesus is like a ladder or gateway between God and mankind (John 10:9). Jesus is our Mediator and High Priest (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 4:14-16).
Subtly and mysteriously, Jesus reveals from the start that He is the divine link between God and humanity. For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Did they recognize the Lord was with them? Not completely.
They Did Not Recognize Jesus
Later in Jesus’ ministry, He approached Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, as recorded in Luke 19:14-44. Jesus looked out and wept over the city. How His heart ached for the people who refused Him.
Jesus’ words in this account read, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
When I read this passage, my heart aches, too.
God let us not miss you!
Let me see the Lord is in this place
God, give me spiritual eyes today. Let me not miss your Presence all around and within. You reveal Yourself to us in many ways through the Bible, creation, Christ, and the indwelling Spirit. Help me look for You, Lord. Help me remember, even when I cannot see, You are with me. Let me say, “The Lord is in this place and I know it!” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
When have you noticed God is in this place?
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