There is much to be discovered in that all-too-familiar difficult place in our lives – the rock and a hard place. Sometimes when we come to this place, our less than stellar qualities are revealed, like the tendency to panic under pressure or struggle through debilitating indecision. Yet, there are other times when we find ourselves divinely empowered to face our fears, to tackle tough choices, and to overcome obstacles.
The Scripture tells of one such man who found himself between a rock and a hard place. Jacob used deceptive tactics to receive the blessing of the firstborn, but it came at a high price. It resulted in his parents instructing him to move far away from home so that he would not fall victim to the murderous intentions of his angry brother (Genesis 27:42-43).
So, under unpleasant circumstances, Jacob left home. Knowing what he’d left behind, but not sure of all that was ahead, he began his journey. Did he have questions? Doubts? Fears? Who wouldn’t? Yet, that night when he stopped to rest, “Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway,” (Genesis 28:11b:12, NIV).
As Jacob’s head rested against that rock, the Lord gently reiterated that He was the God of his father and grandfather, and that He would make good on the promise to bless him and his children. What’s more, the Lord offered assurance of His protection along the way. In that moment, Jacob was no longer between a rock and a hard place. He was between a rock and a heavenly place. A place that gave him the hope and strength to continue his journey.
I’ve had my fair share of moments between a rock and a hard place. As hard as they’ve been, I’ve made some of my most important discoveries during these difficult times. I’ve discovered my weakness and my Savior’s strength, my inadequacy and His sufficiency, my limitations and the infinite bounds of His greatness.
If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place in your relationships, you may not be able to move the rock, but perhaps the hard place can be transformed into a heavenly place – a place where your heart is touched by the Savior, comforted by His precious promises, and reminded that He will never leave or forsake you.
No matter what personal or relational challenges you may be facing, I urge you to go to Christ. As you do, may you discover – or perhaps rediscover – the strength you need to continue on your way, to do some soul searching, and to pursue a place restoration and peace. Leave behind the hard place. Embrace the heavenly place. Walk the path.
Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries
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