This has been one weird winter here in western Pennsylvania! The past few days have been short sleeve/flip flop weather…downright balmy…tempting us with thoughts of spring. Our outdoor kitties are contentedly sprawled out on the deck, taking in every warm ray of sunshine. I’m sure that even one or two confused crocuses were tempted to poke their little heads through the dirt to smile at the sun. But that all changed last night as our peaceful slumber was interrupted by the sounds of a forceful, gusty wind. Within hours we awoke to temperatures that had drastically nose-dived, a chilly, biting breeze, a cloudy, threatening sky, and sassy snowflakes that seemed to be giggling at our furrowed brows. The cats snuggled in the shelter of the garage and the crocuses muttered, no way, we aren’t coming out, and resumed their hibernation. Boom, the seasons had changed in a breath of time. Life is subject to those quick, knee-jerking changes, changes that take our breath away.
“Arise, go up to Bethel,” was God’s expressed command to His vessel of future blessings, Jacob. I will meet with you there, Jacob, just as we met there many years ago. Bethel was the place of the vision of the ladder to heaven, the place where God promised Jacob that he would inherit the blessings of Abraham and Isaac. When Jacob returned to Bethel years later, he had been seasoned, matured through the course of his daily life, “and he built there an altar, and called the place El-Bethel,” the God of the House of God. In response, God gave His servant a new name, Israel, for “a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins.” What an amazing moment of worship, peace, and reassurance…a spiritual high for Jacob, as he “set up a pillar of stone…and he poured oil thereon,” just as he had done decades ago on this same spot.
But a mere six verses later, Jacob would be erecting another pillar, but not a pillar of celebration, but a pillar of sorrow and loss. His dearly beloved wife, Rachel, would unexpectedly die in childbirth and be buried “in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.” As he held his newborn son, Benjamin, in his arms, he would balance that joy of birth with the emotion of grief as he “set a pillar upon her grave” as a permanent monument to the love that they shared. Although Israel had experienced a drastic change of seasons, from worship to weeping, he somehow found the courage to pull up his tent stakes and travel on with God.
God is with us in those dramatic season changes and He promises that His grace is sufficient to carry us both in seasons of worship, and in seasons of weeping.
I Corinthians 9:12 “…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my grace is made perfect in weakness…
Lord, You walk with us through the joy of the mountaintops and the sadness of the valleys. Your grace is all-sufficient and Your love is more than capable of carrying us through the storms.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2615-62862d1ceade6' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2615&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2615-62862d1ceade6' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2615-62862d1ceade6' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>