What A Friend!
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder (was) set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed (descendants); And thy seed (descendants) shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Genesis 28:12-15
I was 17 years old when my dad received a call that his shop would be closing in a matter of months. He was given the option of transferring to the shop in Chicago or finding another job in the valley. I knew my dad would try to find something else in the valley as he did not want to leave. My parents were quite active in ministry and were well respected in the church. They had lived in Phoenix their whole lives and their families were all here. I cannot imagine being faced with such a a decision, but God saw fit to bring this into our lives.
I know my parents wrestled with many ideas, but in the end they decided he would transfer to Chicago. The plan was for me to finish my senior year of high school, sell the house, and then we would move to Chicago to join my dad there. I did not want to move, but I did not have many options, and my parents were not going to leave me behind.
I arrived in Chicago towards the end of December and was greeted with open arms by the frigid air that seemed to tear at your skin. We pulled up to the house and I immediately fell in love with it. I gave the thumbs up and was excited for the new start in my rather tumultuous teenage life. As the weeks went by, however, I missed my friends and started to feel quite lonely. It’s odd how you can sometimes feel alone even though you live in a home full of people who love and care for you. It was hard to meet new people and our new church did not consist of many under the age of 50. I attended college there, but still did not meet many friends. In my quiet loneliness, I began to hear God speaking to me.
He started to reveal Himself to me through answered prayer, and began to show me that He cared about me and had not forgotten me. He showed me He was always there but I was the one who had walked away. We had something great, but I chose to pursue my sinful ambitions instead of my Lord and Savior. I eventually met more people in Chicago, but more importantly, this was a time when I saw God as real in my life through answered prayer. God is always there, and we can always return to him as He waits for us to come back, much like the father of the prodigal son.
I look at Jacob here and it sounds like he was in the middle of nowhere. He was told to leave and go to Padan-aram, but he found himself not there yet when night fell. He was going to a new place, but he knew of the promises that were given to Abraham his grandfather. God choose to speak to him in a vivid and revealing dream. He reassured Jacob of the promise that his descendants would be so plenteous they could not be numbered, and that they would be blessed. He reassured Jacob that He would be with him and He spoke how He would not leave until His promise was fulfilled. God uses different avenues in which to speak to us, and in this case, He used a dream to reassure Jacob that His hand was upon him and that even in the middle of nowhere, God was ever present and mindful of him.
Do you feel all alone today? Are you searching for a God who is at the same place where you walked away from Him? Have you come to realize that sin draws us away from God and gives us that feeling of loneliness because we have broken fellowship? Are you listening to the whispers of the Devil that seem to cry out, “God has forgotten you?” Oh friend, may we come to know and realize the promises of our God and may we sprint back to Him the moment we sin and break our fellowship with Him. We can never say 'no one cares' or 'we don’t have any friends' because we have the greatest friend one could ever ask for. Proverbs 18:24 states, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” What a friend we have in Jesus, and He will be our friend for all eternity. Nothing can separate us from His great love, so remember this truth!
Stay in the fight!