Word for the day by Christian Education Forum


“A Dream of God-With-Us in the World of Uncertainty”
Genesis 28: 10-22

Salman is a friend of mine who lost both his parents in an accident when he was a child. He ran away from home for not being able to bear the torture by his relatives. He reached Mumbai and slept in the Railway station for some days, however, he joined a mob of thieves who taught him how to survive through robbery. He also got into drugs and drinking at a very early age and was caught by police for a robbery. Surprisingly the police let him go as he was just a child and he came back to the railway station where he was once. Not knowing what to do and where to live or how to live, he spent a few more days in the railway station. For his luck he met nuns of missionaries of charity and was taken to the Catholic orphanage where he was given education and a space to live and dream of a life and today, he works as a community developer in an NGO called “Pukar”. When he ran away from his home, he never knew what life would be like or what to even expect from life. For many today, life seems to be uncertain and clueless. There are also situations where we know what to do but we do not have resources or any assurances on how we would pursue life. Genesis 28:10-22 reminds us how God will respond to our uncertainties in life. From this particular passage Genesis 28: 10-22, let's meditate on one thought that is “A Dream of God-With-Us in the World of Uncertainty”

Jacob, Son of Isaac was sent from his home with the blessing of his father that says “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” (Gen 28: 3-4). Jacob was sent in search of a wife for himself and the blessing of his father clearly explains that Isaac wanted Jacob’s generations to grow more in number and make a community of people. Though his father blessed him with a vision to carry there was no assurance that the blessings of his father will be fulfilled. 

In his tiring travel, he takes a rest and might have slept remembering the blessings of his father Isaac. He might have thought again and again about finding a wife and making a community of people. But he has no clue how he is going to make his life and he does not even have any assurances for his life. Nevertheless, he dreams about God’s assurance and God’s presence for a lifetime that is until the purpose of God and the vision of his father Isaac becomes a reality. He dreamt about God's promise that says “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you”. (Gen 28: 15). This promise is the only hope he carries throughout his life. He names the place he slept as Bethel which means “House of God”, the uncertain place of sleep turns out to be the house of God, where he receives God’s promise of continuing presence.
There are times when we only have certain thoughts or dreams about what kind of life we want but do not know how life turns out to be. We may not have people to support us or encourage us to journey forward to experience the realities of visions we have been dreaming about. The plans may not be clearer or there may not be ready-made life waiting for us however trusting in the “God-with-us” promise is a need in the world of uncertainty. When God says I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, God means that no matter what the situations are going to be, my presence will never leave you.

Dream, not about the fulfillment of life’s purposes, but about God’s presence. God-with-us is a never-ending promise of God’s presence. It strengthens us when we find no roads ready before us, it empowers us even in our weakest moments, and it carries us forward even when we want to give up on life. We expect to have answers for everything and a readymade plan and opportunities to move forward and when it does not take place, we panic, we think this is the end of our life as we do not see any paths before us and in these uncertainties and empty spaces God says I am with you. The very birth of Jesus Christ and following him says again and again that God promises us to be with us even when there are no ways and God’s promising presence makes a way out of no way. Like Jacob, it's we who need to dream about God’s presence and never lose hope to create a life we dream of. 
Let's dream of “God-with-us”


Dear Jesus, in my uncertainties of life and empty spaces, help me dream of your presence that never leaves me but strengthens me to trust in your presence in all the circumstances of my life. In Jesus Christ's name I pray.

Shobha Muniyappa 
(Studying Master of Sacred Theology,
Union Theological Seminary, New York)

Wife of Rev. George Wilson Gokavi
Rayalpad Mission, Karnataka

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