Today we began to enjoy the beauty that is the Kruger National Park. It is full of all kinds of amazing creatures, teeming with life and abundance. We saw so many kinds of animals, both big and small and basked in the glory of God’s amazing creation. This time has also been spent as a reflection among our team, processing each piece of this amazing experience. We’re working through photos to remind ourselves from where we’ve come, we’re remembering experiences and faces. We’re trying to discern God’s voice in this still place.
As we wrestle with future plans, the experiences we’ve shared with both Swazis and our team, we are reminded of the story in Genesis 28 when Jacob dreams at Bethel. Here’s the full text:
“Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, their was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord in is this place, and I did not know it!” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.” So early in the morning Jacob took the stone the he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of the place Bethel…” (Genesis 28:10-19)
The promise the Lord gives to Jacob gives us hope. That he will bring us back to this land we have fallen in love with. That he will not leave Swaziland until He has done whet He has promised us. That He is with us wherever we go. The Lord has brought so many of us back to Bethel on the trip. He will accomplish His purposes again. Bethel, or “house of God,” is what Jacob names the place He receives His dream. Swaziland is on its own a kind of Bethel — God has promised to complete the work he began there.
We want to go back to our own Bethel. Want to return to that sacred, holy ground again and breathe the smoky air. Jacob’s dream changes him. It rocks him. It changes the direction of his life, and God uses it to make a bold proclamation of promise over Him. Pray for us to consider Swaziland as our own Bethel. God has made promises to us here on this trip. Let us remember God’s promises as we continue to process all that we have seen and heard. Let us declare God’s promises back to Him. Pray them back in faithfulness to Him. We continue to beg for our prayers as we sit stilly as the foot of the cross.
Father, you know us and love us. Continue to reveal our own Bethel to us. Take us back to your holy ground. Cover us with your love and grace. Amen