I have long been intrigued by a story in the book of Genesis. It is the story of Jacob, in obedience to his father, traveling toward Haran to obtain a wife from his mother’s people. Jacob had a dream (Genesis 28:10-22) in which it was clearly revealed that God was with him. It was a promise of blessing. When Jacob awoke from his sleep he cried out, using words that have become a prayer for me: Truly Yahweh is in this place and I did not know it. Then he took the stone he had used for a pillow, poured oil over it and acknowledging the holiness of the place where God had visited him, marked that place as a memorial—a place of remembrance.
Jacob transforms his stone pillow into an altar. Rituals such as these can be good for the soul. I have no doubt that there are many places where God has visited you and you did not know it.
I, for one,
would rather have a stone
for an altar
than a pillow.
Are their places in your life where God once seemed absent: moments of fear, doubt, brokenness, sorrow, darkness, sin, misunderstandings, discouragement, anger, and guilt? You, too, can wake up and after a period of reflection and prayer, cry out: Truly Yahweh was in this place and I did not know!
There are also times when we fail to recognize moments of grace. We are standing knee-deep in gifts from God and do not acknowledge these gifts are heaven-sent. We fail to recognize the moment of God’s visitation. There are moments of beauty, wonderful accomplishments, joyful celebrations, affirmations and inspirations. We can also stand before these moments with the realization: Truly Yahweh was in this place and I did not know!
So why not build a memorial altar representing the moments of God’s visitation, the moments we almost missed.
Pick up your stones one by one, each stone a prayer:
BUILD YOUR ALTAR
TRULY YAHWEH WAS IN THIS PLACE AND I DID NOT KNOW!