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The gravel crunching under my boots sounded abnormally loud in the cold evening air. Step after step after dogged step I continued on. Walking was a time to think. A time to clear my head and finally just take a deep breath. I kicked distractedly at a fist-sized rock in my path. My eyes traced its progress as it skittered across the road rolling from sight into the dead, brown grass.
Looking up from the ground I noted the puffy gray clouds hanging low over the hills. Here and there they swept down to dump their torrents on the pine-covered ridges forming veils of gray and white. The sun shone through in places, warding off the gray clouds. It was as if there was some great battle, with light holding parts of the field while darkness took others.
I wondered idly about this as I wandered down the rutted gravel road. It seemed a good day for wandering and wondering. Like so many other days my heart found its way down the same old path – a path of loneliness and longing.
For so long my heart had been walking down this road, searching for a God I could not quite touch. Some days I ran and some days I could just barely crawl. But forever my heart would continue down this path, chasing the God that I loved.
“He is in nature.” came a voice. So I looked. I saw the clouds in gray veils and the tree covered ridges bathed in sun and shrouded by clouds. I felt the glory of creation. Wonders to be sure – the fingerprints of God, undoubtedly – but not God Himself.
“He lives in His people.” the voice went on. So I pictured the people I knew, the ones who loved Him most and seemed to know Him best. But it was not Him, only those who would serve Him.
“He lives in your heart.” the voice continued. But what I found there was not the God I sought. He was only dimly present, only a shadow. He was not there.
So I walked aimlessly on down the lonely gravel road. Searching for a God everyone else could see.
“Where are you God?” my heart screamed. “Let me hear You. Let me see You. Let me touch You. I have looked everywhere, in creation, in your people, and even in my heart. If not there, then where are you? Let me see You.”
And so I walked on over the rock-strewn road with snow blowing in my hair and tears rolling down my cheeks. Tears of longing for a God I could not hold.
Coming to my favorite rock, I plopped down. It was beautiful really, all that gray and gold spilling onto the canyon ridges. Dry grass shivering in the stormy wind. Rain and sleet pelted my face and in my heart raged a storm to rival Noah’s.
“What do you want from me God?” But the rain and wind, the veils of gray and streams of golden light just continued down the canyon and deeper into my heart.
“I won’t let You go unless You bless me.” The words worked their way up from the storm in my heart and spilled through my lips of their own accord.
“Where had that come from?” I wondered. And the story came back to me. Years of Sunday School flannel boards and finger painted sheets depicting Jacob and the “Heavenly Heavyweight”. Jacob demanding a blessing when all that he was reeked of lies and deceit. All his life had been spent scrabbling for the next superficial, human blessing - until that night.
On that night Jacob finally asked for (ok, demanded) the right blessing, without half meaning to. But God didn’t just give it over. No, God would not, could not, bless Jacob. His very name meant liar and deceiver. No, instead God offered a compromise. God would bless Jacob, if Jacob would allow God to change him.
(Genesis 32:28) “You will no longer be called Jacob but Israel.” V. 29b “And He blessed him there.”
Jacob did not have to accept this title or this blessing. The blessing was for Israel, the father of nations. Jacob could have chosen to remain Jacob, the liar. But God laid before him something he couldn’t resist, a blessing – God’s blessing. Jacob did accept, and in so doing was changed forever.
And so I realized that God had also laid before me something I could not resist. As the blessing was to Jacob so His love was to me – irresistible. I would fight, wrestle, cry and even die for it, but was I willing to let God change me?
As the storm passed along down the canyon, sun began to break through, warming my face. The gray veils with their cold, wind, and sleet had passed from view and overhead the sun was shining truer than ever.
Even as the sun worked its ageless magic on my chilled skin, so warmth also stole into my lonely heart. The God I had been chasing was not as far away as I had once imagined. God had not left me to suffer without His blessing. No, He would not, could not leave me to my pain. He knew the longing my heart felt for Him, because He also longed for me. And though I could never hope to hold Him in this life I finally realized that it was enough to let Him hold me.
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06 Apr 2008
You did a very nice job here! I could really relate to it. You need to proof your work, though. You used some wrong words, you'll notice, I'm sure, what they are. If not, PM me and I will show you. This is worthy of having it edited. Very nice work and I am impressed that you are still in high school. Keep on writing! You show great promise!
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