Get Your Bearings


Have you ever been lost? With GPS technology, maybe losing our way doesn’t happen as often as it used to (maybe). But we all know the feeling of finding ourselves on the wrong street, taking the wrong exit, or perhaps even heading east when me should be going west an interstate highway.

As children, we may have wandered away from a parent in the grocery store. All of a sudden, the familiar boxes and packages on the shelves didn’t seem so pleasant or welcoming. It’s a bit traumatizing to discover that we don’t know where we are–at any age.

Sometimes we’re not lost physically. Things and places are where we expect them to be, but we feel displaced because of misunderstandings, relationship transitions, or changes in our perspective about life. Sometimes the place is exactly as it’s always been, but we ourselves have changed.

This reminds me of Jacob who found himself in a “new” place in the middle of a familiar and mundane landscape. Jacob’s story is a well-known one. We know of his birth that was a foreshadowing of his personality. We know that he took advantage of his brother’s physical hunger and impulsive nature in order to get the birthright. We know that ultimately he teamed up with his mother to dupe his father Isaac into pronouncing the blessing upon him instead of upon Esau as his father had intended.

Because of this last trick, Jacob found himself on the run–a fugitive from his brother’s sworn revenge. As he goes in search of far-away relatives Jacob throws himself on the hard, barren ground to rest and ends up having the encounter of a lifetime.

Jacob knew where he was headed, and he even had the birthright and his father’s blessing to give him security and to establish his prosperity as a direct descendant of Abraham, God’s friend.

At the time, however, Jacob himself was a friendless traveler without even a pillow to lay his head upon.

In God’s mercy, He visited Jacob at what must have been a very low point in his life. Many years prior, Jacob’s grandfather Abraham had had an encounter with the Lord that caused him to exclaim “Jehovah Jireh!–You are the God Who Sees!” We all know that God can provide (The whole universe belongs to Him), but there’s unspeakable awe in knowing that He sees us. In particular, He sees you. He sees me. How humbling is that?

So when we are lost, the idea is not for us to try and find our way. We’re not to exhaust ourselves with maps or methods or mental gymnastics or even with muscle and might. Our predicament ends when we know and completely trust that our God is the One Who Is Aware. He is intimately aware of every aspect of our location. The Great One has absolutely located us, and even more than that, He has preferred us and called us to Himself.

Jacob realized just that, and he worshiped out loud saying, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” You and I will always be able to recover ourselves and get our bearings again when we have the same revelation that wandering Jacob did, declaring “God is here, and because of that I am completely found.”

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