Light Notes: A smartphone app can't match God's face-to-face connection

Rev. Micah Smith, Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) on

Published in Religious News

When I was 7 years old, I liked to watch a futuristic cartoon character named George Jetson and his wife, Jane, on our old black-and-white TV. It was amazing to see George, and his boss, Mr. Spacely, on a video phone. This was a piece of hardware that allowed them to actually see and speak to people in other locations.

Back in 1962, that was a pretty wild idea — the stuff of some far-future society.

These days, I merely fire up my smartphone application and instantly see and speak to my children who live in other parts of the world. I’m really glad for the capability. But it’s not the same as face-to-face, is it?

The Bible speaks of a man named Jacob who had a face-to-face encounter with God himself.

When we check in on this man’s life in Genesis 32, he is suffering from multiple self-inflicted wounds. His life, to combine metaphors, was a dumpster fire on a train wreck. Even though God had promised from earliest days to protect and prosper Jacob, he always tried to hedge his bets.

But then came a wild and mysterious night by the Jabbok River when God and Jacob had some serious face-time. (Read about it in Genesis 32.) After running from the Lord for most of his life, Jacob had a close encounter with his Creator. They actually wrestled all night long.


When God gets in your face, through whatever means he chooses, it’s because he wants your attention. Initially, that might be a little frightening. But over the long haul, it is very, very good.

The Lord wanted to finally settle the issue of who was in charge of Jacob’s life. The thing I like about Jacob is that he was willing to struggle with God in prayer — and keep after it until he got an answer. He actually told the Lord, “I’m not going to let You go until You bless me.”

And that’s just what God did.

Have you ever prayed like that?


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