I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Tripp Prince
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” Genesis 28:15-16
Do you remember learning the scientific method in school? I remember being utterly captivated by it. It was as if an entirely new way of understanding the world opened up to me. And in countless ways, this is true. Science has ushered in countless gifts. Yet for the Christian disciple, it brings with it one glaring danger. Modernity tells us that if it can’t be observed, measured, or tested, it must not be real.
When we reduce reality and knowledge to the five senses, we shut ourselves off from the very life of God, forgetting what it means to be human. As Christians, we believe we are so much more than the sum of our composite parts. As the Creed reminds us, we believe in a God who is “maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.” We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14), and our lives and world we live in are sustained and preserved by unseen realities that are no less real than the food we eat or people we love.
I’m comforted by the fact that this isn’t a uniquely 21st century problem! All the way back in the book of Genesis, we see the Lord speaking to Jacob, reminding him of this profound truth: “The LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” Even at times when we cannot see or sense the Lord’s nearness, this passage comforts us in the hope that there is so much more going on at any given moment than we can possibly begin to understand.
As followers of Jesus, we are asked to do something profoundly counter cultural: trust in the unseen. We trust that God’s wisdom animates our world and gives meaning when meaning seems entirely absent. We believe that God’s love is ever present, even in the midst of unspeakable pain and loss. And we trust in a God who has told us he will keep his promises to his people, even when we struggle to understand how he will bring this about.
Join your heart and mind this day with the words of our brother Jacob, and no matter what situation you face or trial you are enduring, take heart and remember, “Surely the LORD is in this place.”
Prayer: Father, remind us afresh of your nearness and work in our lives in ways that are both seen and unseen, comforting us with the gift of your Spirit. Amen.