The Stairway Of God - The Greatest Gift

The Stairway of God

Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!

Genesis 28:16

Today's Reading

Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. 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.

At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”

Genesis 28:10-16

You can feel it in your bones sometimes when you stop for a moment—like life’s this stairway that you just never stop climbing, this ladder that goes on forever without end.

Like all these lists are rungs, like your failures stretch from earth up to heaven, like all your rest feels like lying down on one unforgiving stone.

Sometimes you’re just the most tired of trying to be strong.

You have these Jacob dreams, and you dream of what might be. And this is the dream that comes true—that makes all the stressed things come untrue: the real amazing dream is that there are no ladders to climb up, because Christ came down one to get you.

Jesus Christ Himself interprets the dream: “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth” (John 1:51, emphasis added).

Jesus doesn’t show you the steps to get to heaven—Jesus is the steps to heaven.

Jesus doesn’t merely come down to show you the way up—Jesus comes down to make Himself into the Way to carry you up.

Jesus doesn’t ultimately give you a how-to, because Christianity is ultimately about Who-to.

Every religion, every program, every self-help book is about steps you have to take. Jesus is the only One who becomes the step—to take you.

To take us who are the Jacobs, the dog tired and the debtors, the deluders and the desperadoes. To take us who are the lost and the long way from arriving, us who are bone weary of all the trying and the striving. Christ becomes the one step we can never take—and takes us. He comes to us like He comes to Jacob—He comes to us not in spite of our failings—but precisely because of them. Ours is the God who is drawn to those who feel down. Ours is the God who is attracted to those who feel abandoned. Ours is the God who is bound to those who feel broken.

Everywhere stairways for the sinners, everywhere ladders for the lost, everywhere gateways to God.

This is grace. This is reason to slow. This is not to be missed.

Why profane His coming with fleshly performances, frantic pushing, futile preoccupations?

Profanity, writes Elisabeth Elliot, is “treating as meaningless that which is freighted with meaning. Treating as common that which is hallowed. Regarding as a mere triviality what is really a divine design. Profanity is failure to see the inner mystery.”a

We could slow and cease the profanity and see the inner mystery of here. Like our own rich variation of the Slow Food movement, we could begin the “Slow Christmas.” We could set aside the to-do lists that profane the inner mysteries and slow to see the weight of glory in the moment at the sink—the divine design of a day that unfolds with a grace that is not to be missed. The hallowed here. Hurry always empties a soul . . . slow.

God doesn’t want to number your failures or count your accomplishments as much as He wants you to have an encounter with Him.

The only ladder over you is Love—and Love came down.

If, just for a moment, you stand in the doorway, linger a bit in front of the tree, it’s strange how you can see it—how every Christmas tree is a ladder and Jesus is your ladder who hung on that Tree . . . so you can have the gift of rest. When you are wrung out, that is the sign you’ve been reaching for rungs. The work at the very heart of salvation is the work of the very heart of Christmas: simply rest.

Here is holy.

The wonder of all this—God looks at you at your lowest and loves you all the way up to the sky.

Grace carries you all the way home.

Like heaven opening up slow everywhere.

Unwrapping More of His Love in the World

Love came down to help us in our helplessness. Today, find someone who is helpless and stoop low in love and service.

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.


A Moment for Reflection

When do you find yourself striving, reaching, grasping for the next rung to try to pull yourself closer to God?

How would your perspective on the dailyness of life change if you could see that here is holy?

Take a moment to thank Jesus for being your ladder to heaven and to God.

a Elisabeth Elliot, Love Has a Price Tag: Inspiring Stories That Will Open Your Heart to Life’s Little Miracles (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2005), 206.

From the Book:

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The Greatest Gift
By Ann Voskamp

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