My small group is reading through the Bible in one year. Although I'm really behind in my reading, I can't help but to keep returning to the story of Jacob's first encounter with Yahweh in Genesis 28:10-22.
Jacob is fleeing from his brother Esau and stumbles upon a "certain place." In other words, "no where in particular." He falls asleep and has this incredible dream in which Yahweh speaks directly to him. When Jacob wakes up from this monumental dream, he says, "Surely the Lord was in this place, and I was not aware of it."
God was there... and he didn't even know it.
This story is very countercultural for that day. Back then, you just didn't find God in the middle of nowhere. If you wanted to talk to a god back then, you went to the temple. Gods could not be reached beyond a temple because it was thought that that was their permanent dwelling place.
Yet here's a God who is not confined to the temple. He shows up off the beaten path in a place that doesn't even have name.
I can't help but to wonder how many times God is in my midst and I am completely unaware of it. I walk to school every morning without inviting Him to come walk with me. I sit down to eat lunch, oblivious that I just might have a lunch buddy with me. God is present in the everyday, often mundane, parts of my life, yet I am not aware.
I'm learning to cultivate a sense for God's presence and to invite him into my everyday activities. The God of the universe has chosen to dwell among a being as sinful and ungrateful as me. I want to join Jacob in exclaiming, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven!"
God is closer than I think.