"Alone in the night"

In 1963, Darryl Hill endured scorn. A wide receiver for the University of Maryland football team, Hill was the first black player to break into the racially segregated Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Each week, Hill encountered hostile crowds, with some opposing fans dressed in white Ku Klux Klan robes or holding large dangling nooses. During one game at Wake Forest, Hill faced a particularly vitriolic atmosphere. Brian Piccolo, a Wake player, crossed the field to Hill and led him directly in front of the frothing Wake student section. Piccolo wrapped his arm around Hill, and just stood there with him. Almost instantly, the crowd went silent.

Simple presence with another can be a powerful and healing act. But the truth of God's nearness to His people is something truly stunning and comforting.

Jacob experienced that nearness. Estranged from his family and out in the wilderness on a solitary journey, with no bed to curl up on, Jacob merely "found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep" (Genesis 28:11). What followed was an odd vision from God. Jacob saw stairs leading to heaven with angels moving up and down on them. God stood at the top of the stairs.

His powerful words to Jacob reminded him of his identity. They revealed Jacob's place in his family's narrative. God's words declared the truth that He was the God who had always been with Jacob's fathers. "I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac" (v.13). And God assured Jacob, as he slept alone on a rock in the dark night, that He would always be with him as well. Always. "I will not leave you," God said (v.15).

When we're alone or tired or despondent, it's easy to feel like we've been left entirely to ourselves. But that's not true. For God is with us. , Winn Collier, Our Daily Journey

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