The Bible has many stories of people having close encounters with the Lord during many different kinds of situations in their lives. As we try to relate to God in our lives in the present era, there are many revelation stories not too far away from us in time. Looking back to the book of Genesis, we learn that Jacob had an experience that changed his life forever. These type experiences are not limited to Biblical times.
In Genesis 28:10-17 we hear in part: “Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in 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, and this is the gate of heaven.’”
The times are wonderful when we can say, “Surely the Lord is in this place.” For Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, hearing the God of his father give him and his offspring these assurances must have been, as he said, “awesome.”
Jacob thought that he was at the gate of heaven. He was sure that he was in the house of God. There was a ladder into the heavens with angels ascending and descending on it. Standing beside him, God promised to be with them and to keep Jacob and his offspring wherever they would go and bring them back to the land that He gave to them.
Several years ago I had surgery to remove a brain tumor. In that experience I had an encounter with God not unlike Jacob’s. I felt that God was standing next to me in bright light and calmness. His love for me was an overpowering feeling.
Not knowing how the surgery would come out, I had felt a concern for my wife and two boys. I wondered how they would get along without me. Through God’s tremendous love for me, He let me know that He would be with and keep my family. He communicated to me that His love for me was the same love that He had for my family. Instantly I knew that He would take care of them, for His love of me was overpowering.
It was through this experience that death became a doorway to a nearer presence of God for me. It became a joyful thing. St. Paul once said that if it were not for God’s need for him to be a help to his people that he would rather die and be with Christ. For me the feeling was a happy ending to a blessed life. Surely the Lord was in my hospital room. I could feel His power and grace.
I promised God that I would share my Jacob’s ladder experience whenever I had an opportunity. He asked me to share with all who would listen so that as with Jacob’s story, people would know that God loves us and our offspring and will be with us and take care of us wherever we go. And He will bring us back to the piece of His eternal kingdom that He has saved for us.