I was disappointed when I arrived a few minutes late to the Cedar Falls Writer’s Group last Saturday. I’d wanted to tell the group about Jacob’s cancer before the meeting began so we could concentrate on him during the opening devotion. Marcia already had her Bible open and it seemed rude to interrupt so I remained quiet, and closed my eyes. It was difficult to concentrate when she read the first verse, but my breath caught in my throat and my eyes flew open when I heard Jacob’s name in the next verse. My chest filled with tears and I could barely breathe. I don’t know Marcia well yet, and she couldn’t know about OUR Jacob yet, could she? As far as I knew, only one woman in the group knew about Jacob; I’d told Kristi in an e-mail the day before. After a couple more Bible verses, including the one where Job faces trials in his life, Marcia read the devotion she’d written, and it was as if she was speaking directly to me, and to Jacob’s family. Later in the meeting, I had my chance to ask for prayers for Jacob, Elizabeth, and Ben, and the shocked looks on everyone’s faces and the pooling of tears in the eyes of the mothers and grandmothers in that room led me to believe that, other than Kristi, no one else had known about my dear little grandson. I could not talk about it much; I did not want to start crying in front of this group I am still new to, although I know they would have been comforting and supportive. I did not get a chance to talk to Marcia herself. Later, I e-mailed a friend from the group and asked her what Bible verses Marcia had read. This morning, Jean’s reply led me to Genesis 28:10-17
What does it mean, then, that of all the Bible verses to choose from, Marcia had chosen the very Bible verse known as “Jacob’s Ladder” for her devotion that day? Pure coincidence? Dumb luck? There are those who would explain it that way, but I know better. Marcia prays and asks for God’s guidance in her choice of Bible verse and devotion topic.
God knew there would be someone in that room who would need to hear those words to Jacob; “I am with you and will watch over you everywhere you go.”
And that, my dear friends, is how God works through others.
New International Version (NIV)
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”