For some reason, when I started sending out these Peachtree Daily Devotionals, I kept count of them by weeks. This marks the 29th week and this reflection is the 145th and final devotional.
I have been grateful for the opportunity to continue Mark Crumpler’s tradition and to spend a few minutes with you each day in this written form.
At his retirement, Garrison Keillor said, “You get old and discover there are no answers, only stories.” Abraham Heschel once wrote, “There are no final proofs for the existence of God, Father and Creator of all. There are only witnesses.” To the extent that each of these statements is true, it is my hope to be a witness to the existence of God through the stories that form the tapestry of each of our lives. Looking ahead, it is also my hope to develop some kind of web presence under the banner, “Somebody Tell this Story.”
Once when traveling, I left my portfolio on an airplane. Almost immediately, I reported this and filed a claim, but the item was never returned. No doubt it was tossed in the trash. After all, it only contained two things, a file with notes on messages I was preparing, and also, one of the 3” X 5” booklets where I write down stories I come across. I have more than a dozen of these booklets, each one containing hundreds of stories. When I realized it would never be recovered I experienced a surprising level of grief. After all, these stories were my friends—my life. I had lost a piece of myself and a booklet of friends.
The Book of Genesis includes the story of Jacob who lived a life that was cluttered with complications that led to many regrets. At one particularly lonely and anxious point Jacob was visited by God in a dream. When he awoke, he exclaimed:
‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’
Know that the presence of God is in every place you are. God is not simply occasionally part of your story, God IS your story. Right at this moment you are living at the gate of heaven.
Most gracious and loving God, through faith, capture our imagination in such a way that we can see You as our constant Companion, Savior, Lord and Friend. Amen.
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that 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 woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’
With the end of this year, the Daily Devotionals from Peachtree Presbyterian will take a bit of a hiatus. We all have so much to be thankful for, not only at this time of year, but in general, and particularly in our spiritual lives. With transition taking place in the leadership of Peachtree, the future of these devotions is still being worked out. We know how much they mean to so many, and we look forward to a new beginning sometime in 2017!
There are times when we want something, and as much as we hope, and pray, and long for it, when it finally comes true, we just can’t believe it is real. The people of God longed for the Messiah—and when Jesus came, he was all that had been promised—even to us: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.