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How Did I Get Here!

You know you are in deep trouble when…

* The stewardess on your American Airlines flight tells you NOT to fasten your seatbelt.

* Your accountant’s letter of resignation is postmarked Panama.

* You have to hitch hike to the bank to make your late car payment.

* The little league puts you on waivers.

* Your suggestion box starts ticking.

* Your secretary tells you the FBI is on line 1, the DEA is on line 2, and CBS is on line 3.

* You see the cruise captain running toward the railing wearing a life jacket.

* They pay your wages out of petty cash.

* A black cat crosses you path and drops dead.

* You take an assertiveness training course and you’re afraid to tell your wife.

* Your pacemaker has only a thirty day guarantee.

* The candles on your cake set off your smoke alarm.

* The pest exterminator crawls under your house and never comes out.

So how many of you have ever found yourself in a spot that you didn’t want to be, and then wondered how you got there. It might be with your job. It might be with your debt. It might be with your health. It might be with a hobbie…or lack of one. It might be with a relationship. Whatever it might be, you got there and would really like to know how. The other thing you want to know is how to get out of it and get back to what you really wanted in the first place.

I ask that you read the scripture reference Steve is preaching from this weak as I’m only going to make references to it rather than retell the storyline.

Jacob found himself in a place that he didn’t intend to be. A bunch of things happened in a seemingly short amount of time that led his family name to be questioned. It seems as though he is wondering if he actually made the right decision surrounding events involving his daughter. His sons seemed to be caught up in a violent and vengeful reaction that was planned without his knowledge. He could have made many decisions at this point. He could have reacted to his sons and his daughter in many different ways. He could have … well, you fill in the blanks. We all might have had different emotional drives if in the same situation. I know I would have. I’m sorry to say that I might have been out of line with legalities too. It is also alluded to that his family and servants have walked away from believing in the one true God. They are worshipping idols. I’m not sure how, but Jacob does make a choice. He listened to God’s whisper.

Do you ever have that whisper in your ear or in your heart? You know, the whisper you get when you know you’re in a jam. The one you get when you’ve done something wrong, or about to do something wrong. That whisper that you get when you lay down at night and are contemplating the realities of the day, the ones you don’t want to remember. Jacob heard. Jacob obeyed…and for good reason.

Jacob’s response to all of this is, “I’m going to Bethel to build an altar to God, the one who answered me in my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

While in Atlanta a couple weeks ago, I heard a church leader from D.C. speak of something he does to help him when he gets those feelings of, “How in the world did I get here?” He went back to Illinois, where he grew up, took a photographer with him, and traveled to the farming area where he was walking one day in the past. This was the place where God spoke some very significant words to him. It was the place where he heard God in a big and changing way. The photographer snapped a shot of the field and blew it up to poster size, framed it. Mark Batterson now has this framed picture hanging right behind his desk in his office. You know the rest of the story. It’s his reminder of God’s direction for life.

Author and church leader Andy Stanley wrote a book titled, The Principle of the Path. He said that we all end up in places where we did not intend to be. But, no matter where we end up, it started with us beginning down a path and staying on it. Sure, there are exit signs along the way, decisions we probably should have made, but at the end, it was the path we chose to follow. If the path I’m on leads me to eat 5 Snickers Bars a day and drink 5 Dr. Peppers a day, then we can all figure out where that path is going to take me. If you don’t put effort into relationships around you that are important, that path will lead somewhere…probably a place you don’t want to go. Jacob listened to God’s voice and stopped. He then chose a path that would lead he and his family and his household to a place different than where they were currently headed. He went back to where He met God in a big way.

Have you ever gone back to where you met God? Have you ever heard God asking you to take some time to stop and rethink what you’re doing? It might be that you’re hearing God whisper, “…you’re on the wrong path. Come back to me and let me help you start over again.” As one of my favorite groups of spiritual teachers say, “God is the God of second chances” (Veggie Tales – Jonah and the Big Fish). Jacob was beginning to know just how big God’s forgiveness and grace is. We can know too.

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