Yesterday, my church held an outdoor baptism service where 30 people were baptized. I like going baptisms because it is wonderful to hear the God stories that are shared at the service. I love hearing the testimonies of how God grabbed a hold of their heart and hearing them say that He changed their outlook on life. The story I am looking at today made me think of one of the testimonies I heard yesterday because the person mentioned how God had changed them completely. They were in the midst of the thing they feared the most and because they had chosen to follow God, He gave them a peace throughout the difficulty. It was very powerful to hear such an amazing testimony and to hear someone say what an awful thing they had to go through was still difficult, but they knew that God was with them. Jacob found himself in a situation that would also probably be considered his greatest fear and he also turned to God for help. Please read Genesis 32:1-21.
The first two verses are interesting because they don't give us a whole lot of detail, yet it was considered important enough to put in the Bible. We are told that Jacob is met by angels on his journey; however, we are not told what happened in that interaction. Sometimes things are meant to be left between us and God. Yet it was a significant enough moment to be brought to our attention and also significant enough for Jacob to name the site of the interaction. But the next thing we find out in Jacob's story is the fact that he decided to be proactive in meeting with his brother Esau. Jacob thought that if he approached Esau first and showered him with gifts that perhaps Esau would be friendly with him. Jacob had a very good reason to fear Esau! First, Jacob had tricked their father into giving Esau's blessing to him and second, we are also left with the impression that Esau was a skillful hunter and would probably dominate over Jacob if they were left to fighting.
But, notice what Jacob does in addition to getting gifts ready for his brother: he prays. He reminds himself in this prayer that God promised His protection over him and would fulfill His promise through Him. So, even though He is praying to God for His protection, he is also remembering that God had sent him on this journey promising protection. When you think about it, it was wise of Jacob to try to appease his brother with gifts since he had also technically bought Esau's birthright. Even though Jacob never really got an opportunity to claim the birthright and receive all his father's belongings, he thought he would still gift his brother. And what a gift it was! Even by today's standards, this was an extremely generous gift. And even though Jacob was walking right into his greatest fear, he followed God's direction and did it anyway. When you think about it, God had him walk right into what he probably feared the most.
When my husband was called to move to our current church, that meant that we would have to put our house on the market. Our house was in a market that was completely devastated and saturated with foreclosures because the unemployment rate in the state at that time was around 16%. When my husband was going through the interviewing process, my greatest fear about the journey was the fact that it looked impossible to sell the house. Even though we chose to follow God's direction and move, I knew that a miracle would have to take place in order for the house to sell. But God didn't do a miracle, instead He had me walk through my greatest fear. Two and a half years later, we ended up having to give the bank our home because it lost so much value that it was only worth half of what we purchased it for. But, what God did in me through the process is something that has changed me for the better. He showed me that my pride was the only thing that was hurting and He stripped me of it. By walking me through my fear, I learned to lean on Him and trust that He knew what was best for me. It is not the ending I wanted for the house, but it is the result that God wanted in my heart. When God walks us through our fears, we can know that it is only our best that He has in mind.
Are you in a fearful place today? Do you see how God is protecting and providing for you? Do you trust that He has His best in mind for you?
This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty and Monday Musings.