When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it." —Genesis 28:16
The most wonderful thing that can happen to anybody is for God to turn up. The problem is that we don't always recognize Him at the time, and we only see later that it was God.
The trouble is, we think God can only come in one particular way, and that's the way we've met Him. The question is this: If He turned up in an unexpected way, would we affirm Him?
The sooner we learn to recognize the Lord, the better. For some, it may take years to see that God has been in a situation with them; for others, it may take only a few seconds. But the narrower the time gap, the better, for it shows our hearts are in tune with what God is doing. I can think of nothing worse in the world than for something that God is in to be happening and I not recognize it.
If you're not a Christian, then it's also true for you that the sooner you realize when God is there, the better, because the Bible says, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever" (Gen. 6:3). Let me put it like this. It may be that whenever you hear preaching, you sense that the Holy Spirit is dealing with you, that God is on your case. You know that the preacher wouldn't know much about you, if anything at all, and the only way he could speak in this manner was if God had led him to do so.
If you are a Christian and the Lord turns up and you don't recognize Him, you are impoverished since you miss seeing God for who He is, then. I guarantee you will wish later you had seen it was the Lord sooner.
Be open to the unexpected time. Be open to the unexpected manner in which God might turn up. He came to Jacob in a dream. God can do that.
Jacob affirmed God. Fortunately for him, it didn't take him long. The question is, how long will it take you?
Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).