"Genesis 32:9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’
Genesis 33:1-4 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. 4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept
After Jacob ran from Esau and was separated from his brother he heard God’s voice telling him to return home (Genesis 32:9). Because of the years as well as the reason that the brothers had been separated Jacob was afraid to go back. There was fear in Jacob that his brother would not receive him back but would instead try to kill him, his wives and children. There was not only a fear of rejection but by this time there was also mistrust and fear of betrayal. However, through trusting the voice of God, Jacob returned to his homeland.
We have been separated from our home churches because of the virus. Being the age that I am and having a 96 year old mother wisdom dictated that I stay away from large crowds so I did. But for some that separtion was extended because of the hurt, pain and grief that has occurred through the racial events in this nation.
Almost two weeks ago I returned to my regular Sunday service. I wept nearly the entire service. My grief and pains over these issues were still too much for me to bear. There was also a matter that I felt those who should have cared didn’t or at least didn’t respond in the way I felt I needed them to at the time. I felt that I needed and expected others to at least acknowledge the hurt and pain with something other than admonishment. My grief had not been addressed as it needed to be therefore it was not healed. It was no different than when my husband went home to be with the Lord. It was a time, a season not only of grief and pain but it was the season for it. Everyone has a right and should understand that grief needs to be expressed. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for it all. For everything that has occured over these past months Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for it. When my husband died I didn’t just jump up one morning and say ‘Hey, I’m okay!’ However, the day did come when I had to return to the things that I needed to do. I had to get back to the things that I was supposed to do and had been called by God to accomplish. In spite of my grief, hurt and pain staying away from church was not one of those things.
According to the description in the Bible of Jacob and Esau they were as different as night and day. One was hairy and the other smooth. One liked one thing and the other something else. They looked different and acted differently. But they were brothers and they loved one another as brothers. They disagreed and were so angry with one another that Jacob felt he had to run for his life. In the end, Jacob was afraid to return to face his brother. He didn’t know how he would be received. He didn’t know if his brother would accept or reject him, love him or try to destroy him. Yet, through his faith in God, he obeyed.
If you’re remaining away from your church because of the racial issues that are occurring then stop. Through your faith in God, if you have not returned to your church then do so. The Lord told Jacob to return and that He would bless/prosper him. Return and you will prosper and be blessed. However, don’t just return for the blessing, return because of the love you have for your sisters and brothers in Christ, that can never be forgotten. If you’re a pastor of an interracial church and you believe that your Black/white members have not returned because of racism and all that has occurred, call them and tell them you love them and you want them to come home.
As I was praying this morning I could hear in my spirit someone saying “well if they don’t know how I feel about them after all these years then they can go”, or “...they’ll never know” or even worse, “I don’t care!” Then I heard the word ‘PRIDE’. One of the things that God hates, that’s an absolute abomination to him, is a proud look. As a pastor, leader, and yes as a member, if you’re allowing pride to keep you from returning to your church home, then stop it. If there’s anger, hurt and grief, God will heal you but tell Him, ask Him and then allow Him to heal you. It's what I had to do and it's what He did for me.
When Jacob returned to meet Esau he bowed seven times before him. He humbled himself and did whatever was necessary for the well being of his wives and family. Staying away from service is not just hurting you but it’s hurting your family. It’s not only damaging your relationship with those that you love and love you, but it’s totally damaging your relationship with God. SELAH! Trust God and go home!