January 3, 2015 - And I Did Not Know It!

January 3, 2015 - And I Did Not Know It!
Joe Foltz

Genesis 28:10-22 

  Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said,
‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’
- Genesis 28:16

I would guess that you've experienced seasons in life where God's presence seemed nearer to you than usual. One of those seasons for me was my senior year at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. The chaplain at the time, Gary Sivewright, was preaching a sermon series on his favorite song, “I Love You, Lord.” Gary spent weeks talking about the love that God has for us, and in those services, I was overwhelmed by the assurance and sense that despite all of my flaws, faults, and failures, despite my sin, God loved me just as I am.

Now, in those moments, do you think God's presence with me actually changed? Some Christian traditions have a doctrine they call the doctrine of Manifest Presence, that even though God is omnipresent, there are times and places where he chooses not to make himself known, but there are other times and places where God chooses to make himself known. As a Nazarene, I don't believe that. I believe that God is everywhere and always choosing to make himself known. I believe that it isn't God's presence that changes, it's our awareness of his presence that changes.

In Genesis 28, Jacob stops in a certain place to sleep, and as he sleeps with a rock as his pillow, which I'm sure was exceptionally comfortable, he has a dream of a stairway from earth to heaven and angels are ascending and descending on it and in the dream the Lord speaks to Jacob that what the Lord has promised to Abraham and Isaac will come to pass through the life of Jacob. When Jacob wakes up from the dream, he says, “Surely the Lord was in this place, and I was unaware of it.” You see, it's not that God's presence changes; it's our awareness of his presence that changes.

We have to have radar for the ways God is present with us and at work in our daily life. At times, God's work can seem almost imperceptible. So, how do we work on our radar? Ask for it.

 Lord, help me to see Your presence today. Help me see where You are at work.