EVERYPLACE A SANCTUARY
(Gen 28:16) Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."
Do you ever feel far away from God? Jacob sure did. He had done a bad thing against his brother Esau by stealing his birthright (Gen 27). Esau wanted to kill Jacob so Jacob fled from the wrath of his brother. What good did his trickery do for him now? In a barren place he grabbed a rock for a pillow and fell into a much-needed sleep. In the middle of the night he dreamed a dream of a ladder reaching up to heaven with angels going up and down on it. God spoke to him there in the dream. He said that he would bless him and multiply his descendants and bring him back to the land and never leave him until this was accomplished.
Now imagine that. Jacob just pulled a big one on his brother and God says that He was going to bless his life. This does not mean God was blessing him because of what he did, but in spite of what he did. That is the mercy of God! Jacob was already bearing the brunt of his unworthy actions and God was gracious to not rub it in. After Jacob woke up he called the name of the place “Bethel” which means "house of God".
There is no place where we can flee from God’s Spirit (Psa 139:7). Nothing shall ever separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:35-39). God’s mercy is extended to us at all times, even in moments of weakness and failings. He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5). “Thank-you Lord for being faithful even when we are faithless!” (2 Tim 2:13)
If I don’t feel close to God, then like Jacob I can learn that God is in every place and situation that I encounter. So what if I don’t feel Him near? Sometimes I must go by faith because my feelings can deceive me. I can tell myself, "He loves me . . . He is here . . . I’m never out of His reach or concern . . ." And if I draw near to God He will draw near to me (James 4:8). Everywhere I go is a sanctuary because God is there (Eze 11:16).
I am not far away from God. I am my Beloved’s and He is mine and His banner over me is love! (Song 2:4, 6:3).