I wish I could have been there to see Jacob’s face. He must have been dismayed and disappointed at his surroundings. Here he was, one of the favored sons of Isaac, the blessed son of his grandfather Abraham, and yet he was in the middle of nowhere all alone. He was on the run from his older brother Esau who was out to kill him for stealing his birthright. He’d left Beer-Sheba with probably nothing more than the clothes on his back and a nod of approval from his beloved mother Rebekah. His only present glimmer of hope and excitement came when he considered the possibility of finding a wife when he arrived at his uncle Laban’s house in Haran. But now, he was simply on the journey—between the comforts of home and an uncertain yet hopeful future.
I wish I could have been there to see him when “he came to a certain place and lay down because the sun had set” (Gen 28:10). I can only imagine him looking around in dismay at his accommodations. The hot, eastern sun was leaving its last footprints on the sky, and the road for his travel was becoming blurry. Maybe he’d made preparations for the journey. Whether or not he’d packed blankets and sleeping attire is unclear. But, apparently he wasn’t totally prepared, because he looked around and “took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head” (Gen. 28:11). He wasn’t used to these kind of sleeping conditions. As his mother’s favorite, he may have enjoyed not merely a comfortable living environment, but a snug and cozy sleeping place. His pillow would have probably been made of goat’s hair and other soft fabrics that would have allowed for a comfy, resting place.
But now, he peered around him at the stones that lay tossed to and fro in the hills of Ephraim, and he must have been dismayed. For, these stones were a picture of his current status in life- hard, difficult, bland, and so far removed from his past reality. He must have missed his father and longed for his mother. He’d just been given a blessing that included more wealth than he could imagine, and yet, now, he was on the run with no prosperity or affluence to enjoy. He probably was frustrated, overwhelmed, and lonely.
He must have just sighed and resigned himself to the circumstances when he selected a stone as a headrest that night. Yet, I’m intrigued. If I’d been Jacob, then I might have picked a stone too … but not to make my pillow. I might have hurled it in anger or kicked it in frustration, but not Jacob. He was a peculiar man, who in the midst of less than desirable circumstances, discovered the secret of stones. Instead of seeing them as annoyances, stumbling blocks or discouraging reminders of his present circumstances, he gathered one into his arms and maximized its potential. He used it to bolster his body up instead of allowing it to weigh his emotions down.
He didn’t like where he was. He didn’t particularly care for what he had to work with. No, he wasn’t too tickled with this leg of the journey; yet he discovered that there was a secret- the secret of stones.
For it was while his head lay on a stone that he saw a ladder extended from the earth to the heavens. He got a glimpse of angels descending and ascending upon it, and saw the Lord as if for the first time. That night, on this uncomfortable stone, he heard the Lord’s voice reminding him of His covenants, His presence and His infinite power.
Thank God, he’d not missed the secret of maximizing stones.
Are you in a frustrating place right now? In between where you once were and where you so desperately long to be? I’m wondering if you are frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed, or maybe even underwhelmed- bored to tears at the station of your life? As you look around at the tumbleweed blowing across the landscape of your life, you just see useless stones that seem to keep getting in your way. This season of life is not all that you bargained for. So, taking care of your aging parents is weighing on you; staying home with those small, little ones is a tough pill to swallow; handling the demands of a fledgling ministry is overwhelming; struggling to make your money last as long as your month is exhausting –stones, stones and more stones.
And yet, there is secret that Jacob teaches us about these stones.
Each difficulty, each discouragement, each hardship, each frustration, each brick-hard, heavy-to-carry, gray stone holds a vast supply of potential. Those stones are not there to get in your way; they are there to support you while you are on the way.
This part of your journey, stones and all, is not happenstance. It has not taken your God by surprise. The stones aren’t there because he has forgotten you. They are around you, so plentifully because he has remembered you.
I know that they’re a bit hard.
I know they’re not as comfortable as you would prefer.
This season of life might not be your favorite.
But while you are there, peering down at that seemingly useless stone, don’t forget the secret. There is deep and profound revelation that He wishes to give you to enrich you, strengthen you and prepare you for where He is taking you. Friend, don’t disregard the stones of today. They are the resting place upon which you’ll receive the treasures of tomorrow.
Resource: Secret for Sleepwalkers DVD/CD