Altar kicked off its 2021 fishing retreat season with our Soul of a Man Retreat in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. The time away was amazing, as the men worked to read the waters of their life and their soul in a deep way, through meaningful time of personal reflection, laughter, fellowship and amazing food. And…the fishing was all the Driftless promised–challenging casts and lots of fish. I (Eric) could not have been more pleased.
Each morning and evening we would focus our time on devotionals and teaching time to spur our reflections and conversations. On Friday morning, we considered a passage of Scripture (Jacob’s Ladder) that landed at the perfect time for the retreat as we were on a journey (like Jacob in this story) of learning to pause, look, listen, and become aware of God’s presence. Take a moment and read Genesis 28:10-18 as we did on our retreat.
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
Have you ever had a moment like this when you realized God had been right there with you, but you did not realize it at the time?
I think we have those moments more often than we realize or perhaps, because of the pace of life and all that is thrown at us with work, advertising, social media, and more, we miss God’s presence like a trout taking our fly but slow to set the hook even though our guide is yelling SET! SET! (I won’t mention any names–Ha!)
As a pastor and transformational life coach, the one longing and request I hear in others, perhaps more than any other, is to realize the presence of God more in my day-to-day life. What about you?
On our Altar retreat, I was able to tune my eyes to see God’s presence in the lives of the men who devoted time away, in the beauty of creation through the flow of spring creeks, the unfolding of hatches on the stream, and simply being still and “looking up” at different moments.
Let me offer you a challenge as we begin this new month: Go on a God Hunt looking for His presence each day. You will have to pause, look, listen, and observe life around you. Mark these moments as they come in a journal, on your phone, or by telling someone else.
Like Jacob, may you wake up from your sleep and realize surely God is in this place…wherever you may be.
Eric Camfield | June 2021