Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Ye Gates Lift Up Your Heads"1 (Lyrics)
Who doesn't know these three priorities in real estate: Location! Location! Location! That's it. Nothing matters more. It's true for spiritual real estate also. I'm referring to God and His kingdom reign. That's a genuine, specific location. It can be located anywhere, for God is everywhere.
Jacob discovered that truth one night while fleeing from a vengeful brother. In fleeing, he abandoned all familiarities, including homeland, family, and religion. Far away, in a God-forsaken wilderness, a stone sufficed for a pillow. Yet that night, God surprised this fugitive through an amazing dream.
Genesis 28:16 – When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it." (NIV)
Like Jacob, we might find ourselves in a location which seems far from God. It might not be a literal neighbourhood, but a workplace, school, family, or church. It may feel like a seedy, rundown neighbourhood, beset with conflict and sin where no one seems to seek God. Our predicament may or may not be the result of bad personal choices. Regardless, we're distressed, beset with self-destructive emotions like worry, guilt, blame, and anger. Bitterness may creep in, and we just want out. For surely — we reason — God has forsaken this place.
Not so! Take heart, for like Jacob in his wilderness experience, we can declare, "Surely, the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it." God is well aware of our deepest thoughts and feelings. When our night is black and lonely, somehow, He affirms His presence — as He did for Jacob.
Jacob dreamed of "a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it." (v. 12) From the top of this stairway, God assured Jacob of His covenant promise, adding, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go." (v. 15)
Truly, all who are in Christ can be assured of the same promise, for "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6 NIV)
This is our new spiritual location! It's God's gift through salvation! Here, Christ is our solid rock. That's prime real estate! Hallelujah!
Naturally, we prefer living in pleasant neighbourhoods. Yet such ideals are like shifting sands, unstable in the storms. Furthermore, God has often placed His children in bad real estate locations infested with spiritual darkness. Such pits of hell are the very neighbourhoods where God shines His light through His servants, so that sinners may encounter the God of love and joyfully proclaim, "Surely God is in this place!"
Perhaps you feel stuck in such a pit of hell. It may be just where God wants you — to build your faith and endurance, and to bless someone … somehow. Let God have His way with you — and keep praying:
Prayer: Lord, here in my troubling location, lift my eyes heavenward that I may be re-affirmed of Your presence — the best spiritual location ever. Amen.