In This Place

In This Place

Author: Debbie Trafton O'Neal
December 09, 2020

How are you doing?  I hope you didn’t just say, fine and move on. 

No really – HOW ARE YOU DOING?

If you’re like me, you’re vacillating between moments of resignation, hopefulness, uncertainty, sleeplessness and positivity. 

Yes, we will be fine.  Yes, the case numbers for this pandemic will begin to come down.  Yes, people are strong and resilient and will do the right thing…. But.


In the meantime… some days are great:  We’ve got this, this new normal, and we’re healthy and productive. 


Other days … not so much. 

I find myself lying awake some nights thinking, “How did we get here? How long will we be here?  When will life be normal again or will it EVER be normal again?”

This week, as I find myself busy with Christmas-y tasks, these words from Genesis 28:16 have lingered on my heart and in my mind:  Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!”

Now if you know the story of Jacob, he had a lot of family baggage to contend with. 

Life wasn’t easy for him from the very beginning – born a twin, his brother later stole his birthright.  His father-in-law cheated him out of the woman he loved until he had worked another 7 years. Through a chain of deceptive and manipulative events, Joseph and his family returned to the land of his birth, where he feared his brother would murder him. 

And the list goes on.  Not a good family life, that’s for sure. 

But God had plans for Jacob anyway. In fact, that seems to be the way God works.  

When something seems insurmountable to us, it is entirely possible with God.

When relationships break down, God can step in as the healing mediator.

When we are discouraged and even depressed, God sends people to lighten the day.

When our days and nights seem full of anxiety and fear and uncertainty, when we are powerless over the next steps to take, when we are lonely and feeling vulnerable, God holds us in the palm of his hand.

This pattern of life for Jacob changed, literally, overnight.  Jacob was broken down, facing his weaknesses and all of the things that hurt him – and he spent the night wrestling with God. 

Needless to say, it was a long night.

When in total exhaustion, Jacob finally slept, he let go and realized that he could only go forward with God central to his life.

Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!”

This week I am waiting and listening and watching… surely God is in this place. 

There may be loneliness at night, but in the light of the morning dawn, when the day breaks open,

God is there with me.



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