Israel set out with all that was his. When he arrived at Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called, “Jacob! Jacob!” He answered, “Here I am.” Then he said: “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation. Not only will I go down to Egypt with you; I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes.”
Here I Am
One of my hobbies is exploring new running trails and paths. Recently, I was able to run a trail at Broomtree Retreat Center near Irene. The trail is a grass path which runs along the Stations of the Cross, then travels along farm fields and along the river before turning back to the Retreat Center. I, of course, neglected to pick up the trail map they nicely provide at the front desk before starting out.
As I began my run, I was confident I was going in the right direction. The path was clearly marked and the Stations along the way were an obvious sign I was on the trail. Then, I came to a sign that said, “Running Trail”, where the path diverged from the Stations trail. As I turned off the Stations trail, the path became rougher and more difficult to find. I began to wonder if I was still on the correct trail.
Then, out of the weeds comes shooting a very excited dog. I recognized her as Cocoa, the Retreat Center’s resident guard dog, a Shepherd mix who greets each visitor like an old friend. She led me through a difficult-to-navigate part until the trail became clearer. Then she took off through the fields.
This process repeated three times. As I would near difficult-to-find portions of the trail, Cocoa would appear and lead me in the right direction. When I entered a dark, slightly creepy area of woods, she ran right by my side. As I neared the Retreat Center, I again lost sight of her until I ran up to the doors and gave her a good rubdown for being such a great running partner.
It struck me that Cocoa is like God in our lives. In times of greatest need, He is there to guide us and show us the right path to take. We do not need to fear traveling new ground. As He assures Jacob not to be afraid, He promises this to us as well.
Thank you for guiding us during times of great need in our lives. Help us to remember to ask You for help when we don’t know the way. Remind us we don’t need to be afraid because You are always there by our side. In Jesus’ name, Amen.