Jacob's Ladder

EVER wonder how it all could possibly work out in your life? When we feel like this, even God may seem far away.

I think that must have been part of what Jacob felt before his recognition of God's presence turned his life around. In the book of Genesis the Bible tells us how Jacob, at his mother's bidding, tricked his father into blessing him with the family birthright rather than his brother Esau. Esau, in turn, threatened to kill Jacob. So, Jacob was fleeing from his brother's anger when he dreamed of a ladder reaching to heaven.

This heavenly vision changed Jacob. As the Bible tells us, "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. His dream assured Jacob that even though he had made a misstep, God's love remained with him. Jacob still had a lot of learning to do, but ultimately he and his brother Esau were reconciled.

The ladder in Jacob's vision can be thought of as a symbol of God's love and care for man in any possible circumstance. This love abides with us regardless of the degree of difficulty we are facing-- even if it is our own mistakes that have brought the difficulty on us.

This connection, or spiritual link, is in place for each one of us now. We don't have to be in deep trouble to discover it, nor can anything put us beyond its help. Its real substance is in the spiritual unity that exists between God and man. Because there is never a gulf to be bridged between God and His beloved creation, man, the spiritual connectedness exemplified by the continuously occupied ladder is always present.

God is Spirit, and He must be thought of in spiritual terms. His act of creating man is a spiritual work, so man himself is a spiritual being--like his creator, as Christ Jesus taught. Angels is one concept that helps us to see how God reassures us of His presence. Sometimes we think of angels as coming only in times of great need or only if we've been especially good. But actually they pass continuously from God to man because of His great love for His creation.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives us a clear concept of angels when she describes them in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.

It's only logical that an active, all-powerful God is in intelligent communication with man. God is not passive or indifferent toward the central object of His love. And God's communication is direct and constant. It comes as uplifting, intelligent thought.

We can certainly expect the angels of God's presence to speak to us directly in times of crisis or great personal need. But angels also have a long-term, day-to-day role in our lives. Mrs. Eddy speaks of them as "counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality. Rooting out such ungodlike, self-defeating habits of thought from our lives is often a long-term process, and we can expect the presence of angels to help us along this path. The angels that represent God's love do more than just watch over us! The Bible speaks of them as "ascending and descending, words that indicate vigor and direct action on our behalf.

Often when we wonder how things could ever work out in a good way, it's because we've temporarily lost sight of the actual fact of God's presence in our daily lives. The strong, spiritual message in the story of Jacob's ladder can help us feel that healing presence to greater and greater degrees.

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