I love reading Genesis. The stories of those we call the patriarchs and heroes of our faith are profoundly wonderful. They are inspiring. They are full of passion. They are amazing and wonderful.
But they are also human.
It can be easy sometimes to forget that people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob struggled with faith. They seem to be such heroes in the faith department – such strong men. But, each time I read back through their stories, I’m reminded of their struggle.
One story in particular has stuck with me recently. It’s the story of Jacob, particularly the time when he was returning to Canaan after leaving his uncle Laban’s land. He was informed that his brother Esau was coming to meet him…along with 400 fighting men!
Backing up a bit we are reminded that Jacob and Esau did not part company well. In fact, Jacob was running for his life because Esau had determined to kill him. The brothers had not seen each other for many years, and Jacob had every reason to believe that Esau was still angry with him. Four hundred fighting men would definitely have confirmed that suspicion in my mind!
And so we come to Genesis 32:6-12 where Jacob is informed of the approach of Esau. He consequently goes before God and basically says, “Lord I know what You have promised to me, but Esau…”
Jacob is scared. He knows the promise of God. But, an angry brother and 400 fighting me are much more visible than promises. So, even with the promises of God, Jacob prepares to be wiped out. He divides his belongings and his family into groups, hoping that if one group is attacked, maybe the other group and his family groups can escape and live. Maybe.
How many times do we approach God the same way? “Lord, I know You promised ____________ in Your Word, but did You really foresee this giant problem bearing down on me?”
Did You really foresee this boss who thwarts me at every turn?
Did You really foresee this child who would break my heart?
Did You really foresee this medical issue that would stop me in my tracks?
Did You really foresee this job loss?
Did You really foresee this financial crisis?
Lord, I know Your promises, but…
God missed nothing. He is surprised by nothing. When Jacob crossed the Jabbok River to meet Esau, there was no attack. There was no greeting of animosity. There was no threat. Instead there was a kiss of welcome.
God’s promises are true. He will come through. There is no “but” when it comes to His provision. It is not easy to trust in the unseen hand of God when the equivalent of 400 fighting men are bearing down on us. But, it is what we are called to do.
Instead of saying, “I know what You promised, but…” let’s choose to stop with, “Lord, You promised.” Then let us choose to finish with, “And I will trust.” Because to Him, those 400 fighting men might as well be 400 blades of dry grass to be blown away with one big puff of air.