Devotional

“Isn’t it interesting how some life-changing devastations are actually like the crossover switches on train tracks that take you in a totally new direction, often forcing you onto the path you were supposed to be on all along?” ― Bart Millard, I Can Only Imagine: A Memoir.

I Can Only Imagine is a good movie. It doesn’t try to cram too many themes and sub-plots into a 2 hour movie. Nor is this movie preachy.This is a movie that shares the story of God’s redemption and grace in an inspirational but simple way.  

The vehicle for the story is the best-selling Christian song, “I Can Only Imagine”, by Bart Millard, lead singer of the band MercyMe. Millard wrote the song for his father, who represents overbearing and abusive fathers everywhere. There were plenty of confrontations between father and son. Few people would describe the process of confrontation as a joyful one, but the reconciliation aspect is truly one that inspires rejoicing. The story of Jacob and Esau is a story of reconciliation. 

If anyone had good reason to hold a grudge, it would be Jacob’s brother, Esau. Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright and his blessing; then he fled because Esau planned to kill him as soon as their father, Isaac, died. Years later, after they both had wives and children, they met again, but Jacob was still terrified that Esau still wanted to kill him. He sent messengers and lavish gifts ahead of him, hoping to appease his brother. But he need not have worried. As Jacob bowed before his ­brother, “Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.” (Genesis 33:4) Jacob responded, “For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.” (Genesis 33:11 NIV) 

If we have also read the previous chapter, Jacob’s response may remind us that Jacob had just had an experience of seeing God face to face. Now Jacob saw a reflection of God in Esau through their reconciliation.

The Bible instructs us to live in harmony with other people, but we won’t always succeed. We will hurt others, even if we do so unintentionally. And others will hurt us. We will have misunderstandings. We will anger others and be angry at others. When we reconcile with another person after being at odds, we see God’s face, because God is a God of reconciliation.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you feel about doing something or going somewhere that might take you out of your comfort zone in order to reconcile with someone? 
  2. Is there a person that we need to reconcile with?