This past weekend, our church hosted its annual Revival, a 3-day event strategically placed mid-way through the semester, to open up a space and time for students to be revived and refueled. It's filled with sermons, prayer, and worship. It's a grand time. (:
This year was my fourth one. It is also my last one as a student, and my favorite one. The sermon from the first night really struck a chord with me and reminded me of this series so I wanted to share a bit about it here. The speaker, Reverend Charlie Dates, spoke on Geneses 32, when Jacob wrestles with God... Genesis 32 begins when Jacob is in the middle of the night hiding from enemies and running away. We meet him sending off his family across a river.
Verses 23 and 24 read, "...he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone..."
Reverend Charlie Dates pointed out this redundancy as a literary device to emphasize the state of Jacob at this time. He was stripped away of all his physical comforts, his possessions, as well as his emotional and relational support. Jacob is stripped, empty-handed, and alone. At this moment, is when God chooses to meet him and wrestle with him. The text says they wrestle until daybreak and as God tries to end it, Jacob holds on and says one of most profound and telling requests.
He says, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
When we are stripped away of everything, our innate need and deepest cry of our heart reveals itself — to be blessed by God, to be seen by God. Can I say that again? When we are apart from all the comforts and securities this world can offer us, it is at THAT moment our true and real and personal need and desire is to the surface.
To be blessed by God. To be seen by God.
And isn't this what we've been talking about this whole month? I had never read this passage this way, and that particular point cut away at me just as the Word should. I felt so known and understood and rebuked, too. My whole life pattern has been to maximize comfort, maximize security... meanwhile stifling the voice and power of God.
In this passage, God reminds me that He meets me when I am stripped away of everything. That he must take everything in order to give me everything. I want to learn how to daily take everything so tender to my heart and lay it before Him at His feet... ready to be filled with more of Him. More of Him.