Summary: In our eagerness, in our business, in our enthusiasm, it is possible that we miss out on the most important aspect. The aspect of having an encounter with God. Let us have a fresh encounter with God.

Invitation to an Encounter With God

Good Morning. I realise that there are three categories of people here.

First category are the new students who are eager to know what lies ahead of them. You are all charged up, all excited to be part of this great institution that you have joined. Second category is mixed lot of old students, who have been here and are at various stages of acceptance or cynicism of the reality that defines this institution. Then there is a third group who are part of this institution for a long time and have mixed feelings about what goes on here. I am hoping that my message has some meaning for all the three groups.

When you came here, you would have come with certain expectations, It might be that you believed that everyone deserves and has a second chance after messing up their lives. You believed that this institution will equip you to convince others of the same. It might be that you believe that there is a right way and this institution will teach you what the right way is. It might be that you believe in new beginnings and you trust that this institution will give you just that, a new beginning.

What I would like to highlight is the fact that there could be serious differences between what you expected and what you get, when you join an organisation or an institution. You might have come here with different expectations. Some of them may be met, some of them may not be. And then there are rules and regulations, there are assignments and exams and presentations to do. There are strict time lines to be adhered to, additional activities to participate in, the commons food to deal with. And then there are things that might exceed your expectations, the richness of the library resources, the experience and the knowledge repertoire of the staff and the faculty, the opportunity to learn from each other, the stress on spiritual formation, the worship times, the social evenings, and the overall ambience of the campus itself, apart from the excellent climate that Bangalore offers. So there you are , you might end up with the great, the good, the bad and the ugly, depending on how you look at it. But what is sure is that your initial enthusiasm will drop down after experiencing the reality of the place. It is quite natural and understanding if you fall into what leadership experts call as the pit of despair.

But most importantly, among all of this, you night miss out on something very important.

Let us look at someone who almost missed the whole point. Let us look at Jacob. Genesis Chapter 27 is a story that reads like a Bollywood movie script. Plotting, cheating, Fraud, anger, vow of vengeance, murder plot etc. All that is missing is some songs and running around the trees. Jacob is far from a perfect man. He gets the blessing of his father through a fraudulent action, in connivance with his mother, and as a result, has to run away from the presence of his brother who he cheated. But on the way to his uncle’s place a beautiful thing happens to Jacob. He has his first encounter with God. He is weary, he is tired, and he is afraid and unsure of his future. He finds a stone for his pillow and lies down to take rest. And then he dreams of an event that is come to be known as Jacob’s ladder, the stairway to heaven and the LORDs promises to him (Genesis 28:12-15). And when he wakes up, Jacob realises a simple truth that many of us might need to be reminded of. Genesis 28:16 (NKJV) Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it." Surely, the LORD is in this place and I did not know it. It isn’t a surprising statement coming from someone like Jacob. The LORD was with him all through his life and he did not know it. He was trying to reach his life goals all by himself through fraudulent means. He was trying to make his life a success through his own efforts. He was trying to get blessings from the LORD through cheating. All this time, while the LORD was with him and the blessings of the LORD was always with him, just that he did not know it.

I don’t know the circumstances that brought you here. I am not suggesting that your story compares with Jacob’s life story that is depicted in Genesis Chapter 27. What I would encourage you to do this morning is to ask ourselves, Have we been running around trying to achieve things by ourselves, by taking help from a little cheating, a little lying. Have we been on the run because of the sins that we have committed? When we finish our exams, and assignments and thesis and projects and cell group activities and all, it is still possible that we might have missed the presence of our God, the awesome God? That is a sobering thought.

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