Facing Your Past

Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’  I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. Gen 32:9-11

So often when there are big things God wants to do in our lives, it connects to our past. Bummer. I often wish I was done with all the pain and hardship of past years. But God seems quite convinced that I should face my past and allow him to repurpose it into something good and useful and wholesome. That's why God tells Jacob to "go back to your country and your relatives" - because Jacob left a disaster behind when he left (See Genesis 27) and his brother wanted to kill him. God clearly wants him to reconcile.

In the passage from today, Jacob is on the cusp of receiving a new name and a new destiny... but the past must be faced. God's always working on reconciliation. Take time to ponder how might God want to bring reconciliation, healing, or redemption to your past this day?

NOTE: This Sunday in worship we'll be hearing Madeline Wu's remarkable story of emerging from childhood sexual violence (in the context of learning about Genesis 34). It might be a good Sunday to come with your heart ready to face your past - and perhaps a good Sunday to bring a friend who would like to be part of a church that faces hard issues like this head on.