Where God Wants Us to Be

Yael Eckstein  |  November 8, 2021

Black and white drawing of Jacob's ladder.

“When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set.” — Genesis 28:11

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Vayetze, which means “and he left,” from Genesis 28:10–32:3.

We’ve all been in this situation. A long drive with the kids in back seats. And every so often, you’ll hear it. That age old question: “Are we there yet?” Now, obviously we’re not there yet. If we were there, we wouldn’t still be driving, would we? My usual response is to tell my kids to enjoy the drive, to take in the scenery.

On one recent vacation drive, we stopped at a busy rest area along Highway 6, Israel’s main cross-country route. When we went to use the bathroom, there was a mother standing there with two little girls and a baby boy in a stroller. She seemed a bit overwhelmed by her impatient young daughters who desperately needed to use the facilities.

Realizing that she needed help, my daughter offered to stay with the stroller while the woman took her daughters into the bathroom. She smiled wide and sighed deeply. “Yes. Thank you. That is such a help. Thank you. Thank you.”

When we were getting back into the car to continue our trip, my daughter asked me, “How much longer until we get there?” “We were just there, sweetie,” I replied. “We were exactly where we were meant to be.

Where God Wants Us to Be

In this week’s Torah portion, as Jacob journeyed to his Uncle Laban’s house, he stopped for the night. Describing the place where he stopped, the Bible says that he arrived at “a certain place.” In Hebrew vayifga bamakom literally means “he arrived at the place.” The Bible seems to be telling us that this wasn’t just a place at the side of the road. It was the place, right where God wanted Jacob to be.

A few verses later, after Jacob had his prophetic dream of a ladder ascending to heaven, he woke up and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it… How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:16-17).

When Jacob stopped for the night, he thought he was just somewhere at the side of the road. Only after God spoke to him did Jacob realize that he had arrived at an important destination. He had arrived bamakom, “at the place,” exactly where God wanted him to be.

Are we there yet? If we are listening for the voice of God, the answer is always “yes.” We are exactly where God wants us to be.

Your Turn:

Pray today for God’s guiding hand to put you in the right place at the right time to do His work — exactly where He wants  you to be!