When something happens that you didn’t plan for… What do you do when you get some bad news you didn’t expect.. I know when my mother was in the hospital it was one of the hardest seasons in my life.. and before she passed away everyone was trying to get everything in order, it was something we had not planned for.. nevertheless we had to deal with it.. What about when I lost custody of my first daughter..I didn’t plan to see it but she will be 17 yrs old this year and well, I never recovered her.. What do you do in the midst of a stressful event like a divorce where you have to deal with the grief of a person who is not dead, but very much alive and may be moving on without you even as you divorce them.. or even worst, while you were still married to them.. and you didn’t see it coming..
I’ve found that we can plan things one way and they can work out totally different..
Precisely the case in this text I studied today which involved Jacob sending messengers to Esau.. Obviously, he’s gotten word from God to make a shift… He had been with his father in law and 4 wives and many children and flocks, herds and camels for 20 yrs. That was a pretty awesome success seeing that he arrived there with nothing but the shirt on his back.. Now he is headed back to where he ran away from thinking his brother wanted to kill him.. Ironically, he had to face Esau his brother again, and he devised a plan to send messengers ahead of him to “Make peace” with his brother in a very calm and peaceable way.. But to me, what he says is not.. really… quite right.. He tells Esau about everything he has that he may find favor in his sight.. Thinking possibly Esau would be elated and come by himself to meet him..
Well, this was like Pharaoh and his army chasing the slaves… it was almost like he totally lost all peace and trust b/c it was a moment of distress.. Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men.. Ask me how they knew it was 400…Somebody was smart enough to stop and count to give an accurate account to the master, how about that?
This was not was Jacob anticipated.. Jacob really wanted to just see Esau and know he wasn’t still thinking about killing him.. but now.. Well, it looks like he is.. He’s coming to meet him with all these people… What are they trying to start a war.. It doesn’t appear Jacob (the man with the promise from God) has as many people in his posse as Esau.. Esau the hunter and hairy man seems to have fared very well if you ask me!
I was humbled that the bible would put in there that this greatly distressed Jacob and so he started to divide the companies first making a plan.. Hey there was no time to really pray first… Let’s start planning for the worst… in case the worst happens.. at least God will bless my good plan..
Then he does something quite awesome.. In of of the longest recorded prayers in the bible… Jacob prays… And his prayer is listed for all of us to see it. He tells God all about his problems and not only does he address the issue at hand.. Jacob says to God.. I need you to do something about this.. Yet even after his prayer… He still prepped for the worst and when he finally saw the face of his brother Esau because it had been a thing that had bought him so much turmoil and stress on the outskirts.. he realized that somehow in the midst of all that happened that caused him great stress he was closer to God.. He had not only prayed, he wrestled with an angel, got a blessing… Then his brother was at peace with him… He saw his brothers face and in the midst of his greatest trial this was his comment when it was over.. “Seeing your face is like seeing the face of God!”
How awesome is that.. Would that we all would choose this way.. To see the face of God the next time a test comes up in our lives!