A Christian Science perspective.
Just recently, after I’d been praying about several challenging situations in my life, this phrase came to thought just as I was falling asleep: “The Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” What a holy reminder! I’ve often gained strength and courage in difficult circumstances, or been lifted out of despair, by the reminder that I’m never separate from God – and this time was no exception. With a grateful heart, I accepted this gift from our Father and regained my peace.
In the morning, I looked up the quote and found it in the book of Genesis: “And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set;... And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said ... I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:10-16).
In that moment of revelation, Jacob began to realize his relationship with God, his Father, and started to wake up to the truth that his life and purpose were established by his Creator, not through his own willfulness or planning.
And the truth is, God is in every place. No matter where we find ourselves – on a busy highway, in an airplane, at the back of a long line, in a hospital – God is present, and His angels are whispering messages of comfort and peace to our waiting hearts. These angel messages give us the strength to climb higher.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares” (p. 574).
This is exactly what happened to Jacob, and more than once in his life. At the time when he realized that God “was in this place,” he had been running away from his own bad behavior and from the wrath of his brother Esau, whom he’d defrauded of his birthright and his father’s blessing. Yet, even in the midst of his fear and guilt, Jacob found himself still in the presence of angels, who opened his heart to the companionship of his divine Father. The angels reminded Jacob that no matter where he was and no matter what he had done, God was still with him – correcting, comforting, and guiding his life. God was helping Jacob fulfill his holy purpose.
No matter where we find ourselves, divine Love is speaking to us, communicating exactly what we need to hear. Our fears are calmed by messages of courage; our guilt is assuaged by the knowledge that Love washes us clean each moment; our wants are met by divine abundance. Today we can rejoice with Jacob and declare, “The Lord is in this place, and now I know it!”