The presence of God

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:

Scripture: “Surely the Lord is present here, and I was not aware of it” (Gen: 28, 16)


"A tired traveler, late at night, walks along the road. He is an exile from his parents’ house, hiding from his brother’s revenge, separated for a long time from his parents, and all because of his own fault. He deceived his old father and the bitter truth of this lie forces the beloved son to flee, endure hardships and become a lonely wanderer. He is tired, it is dark, and he lies down in the open and lays his head on a rock. He dreams of a ladder which “stands on the ground, and its top reaches the sky”; and from above, above the dark corner where Jacob is resting, comes God’s voice: “I am with you…I will not leave you”…Jacob wakes up and says: “Surely the lord is present here and I was not aware of it”.

"In the place of exile where your sin has brought you, where you are alone, completely alone, where perhaps you were not looking at all for God, he is present there next to you and is looking for your soul, because He has loved it and wants it to recognize its sinfulness and His Love.

" ‘I will not leave you’ until you turn to Me, until you build Me an altar in the heart that did not know Me. "The rock Jacob slept on was hard, but when the heavenly light illuminated it, when the heavenly Voice sounded above it, the hard rock turned into a memorial marker, was softened with oil, and the deserted place was illuminated and was called the House of the Lord.

“Read this Bible story carefully and take to heart what it tells us as well. Amen.”

This is what Screwtape tells Wormwood about the effects of the presence of the Enemy (Letter 14):

“As you ought to know, the asphyxiating cloud which prevented your attacking the patient on his walk back from the mill, is a well-known phenomenon. It is the Enemy’s most barbarous weapon, and generally appears when he is directly present to the patient under certain modes not yet fully classified. Some humans are permanently surrounded by it and therefore inaccessible to us.”


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)