I was reading a well known story from Genesis 28 recently, the story of Jacob and Esau and Rebekah and Isaac and y'all, a few things hit me between the eyes like never before.
I love when God does that. When He presents us with a story or scripture we've heard a hundred times and gives us fresh eyes and an open heart to receive new hope-filled promises.
So Jacob. . .
Jacob had angered his brother, Esau, who was now planning vengeance. Jacob's mother, Rebekah, urges him to run and hide and live with her brother, Jacob's uncle, for a while until Esau can cool his jets and chill out. And once Esau is chilled? Rebekah will send for Jacob and all will reunite and live happily ever after.
How is that for a reader's digest version?
So Jacob starts to run towards Haran, the town where his uncle lives.
Genesis 28:10-11 of The Message says it like this. . . "Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep."
Can we read between the lines for a second?
Jacob is on the run, on the move, and all he knows is that his brother is after his life. So I imagine all the emotions are filling Jacob's head and heart. He finally makes it to this desolate land, decides to call it a night, and all he has to lay his head on is a pillow made of stone.
Pillow made of stone.
Ok. . . is this verse talking about Jacob or Brittnie? (Remember, we are reading between the lines.) Because I have been there a time or two. And I would imagine that I am not the only one who has fallen into what feels like a desolate land, a desperate situation, and all you have to rest your head is a slab of rock. And just as Jacob went to bed desperate, there have been many times I have gone to bed desperate, too.
But then the coolest thing happens, friends.
While Jacob is snoozing on a hard-as-nails-stone, God gifts him with a dream.
As he sleeps, Jacob has a vision of angels ascending and descending a stairway to the heavens and God, there with the angels, begins to speak promises over his life.
Verse 13-15 describes the dream and this is what God has to say. . . "I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I'm giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they'll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. Yes. I'll stay with you, I'll protect you wherever you go, and I'll bring you back to this very ground. I'll stick with you until I've done everything I've promised you."
Que all the tears because are you kidding me?
Jacob wakes realizing that while he had gone to sleep lonely and afraid, GOD was right there, with him in this desperation and well, he had just not been aware of it.
Jacob then took that pillow of stone and turned it into a pillar of worship.
He turned his struggle into a sacrifice of praise.
He took the hard parts of his story (literally and figuratively) and handed them to God as a gift.
We can do this too, friends.
It's not easy. And God doesn't always grant us grand visions as He did Jacob. But we too can turn our pillar of stone into a pillar of praise.
We can take that thing that is breaking our heart or breaking us down and lift it back to the heavens with hope-filled expectation. And we can do so with sincere eagerness that the God that comforted Jacob in Genesis chapter 28 still comforts us today.
. . .
What's your pillow of stone?
How can you offer it back up to God as praise?