"Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream....""Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it." (Genesis 28:11, 16 NIV) This particular part of Jacob's story is a fascinating one. We mostly focus on the dream, the ladder thing - angels ascending and descending into heaven and all. And while that is certainly impressive, the circumstances surrounding this famous dream warrant our attention as well. You see, Jacob was on a journey. He wasn't traveling by coach or camel either. He was walking - a long way and not in high tech walking shoes. When it was time to kick off his sandals and take a nap, he pulled up a rock. Not a nice soft patch of sand or a pillow of palm branches, but a rock. He rested his head upon a rock. That's what it says. Now this is compelling. Plenty of other naps are chronicled in the scriptures, but the writer of this story made a point of telling us specifics here. A rock. He was on a journey that would ultimately change his life, traveling without the amenities of the Admiral's Club or a town car and he lay down with his head on a rock. This is truly being between a rock and a hard place. Yet look what happens. Lying on that rock, he dreams a dream that will be forever remembered in paintings and children's Sunday School songs. "We are climbing Jacob's ladder!" Thanks to that rocky dream, Jacob encounters the Lord and declares, "Surely, the Lord is in this place and I didn't even know it!" We often find ourselves in uncomfortable places, our heads resting not on cushy pillows, but rocks. Sometimes we put ourselves there, as Jacob did, or our circumstances force us into that spot between a rock and a hard place. Either way, Jacob's story reminds us to look for God, for He is always in that place with us even if we sometimes fail to notice Him.
A WORK PRAYER
Lord God, today help me look for you when I find myself between a rock and a hard place. Give me wisdom to put myself in situations where I can see you amidst the sometimes uncomfortable surroundings and circumstances of my work-a-day life. Help me live a life that reflects your presence to those around me in spite of my rocky environment. Amen.