The story is recorded in Genesis 28 and 29. Jacob, fleeing his brother and far from home, received a vision of God (See Gen. 28:10-17), assuring him that God would: a) Give him the land of Canaan (vs. 13); b) Make him a mighty nation that would bless the world (vs. 14); c) Go with him and protect him (vs 15); and, d) One day bring him back to Canaan (vs. 15). Jacob then found himself in his Uncle Laban’s household. He fell in love with Laban’s younger daughter, Rachel, and willingly worked seven long, hard years to win her hand in marriage. On the day of his wedding, it must have seemed like his problems had finally turned around!
Until the morning after, that is, when he awoke to realize that he didn’t married his beloved Rachel at all, but rather, her older sister, Leah!
What a dirty, nasty trick to play on someone! Why would this happen? Why would God even allow Laban to do such a thing?
I have a good friend in Alberta who has suffered for years with chronic pain. In addition to this, she has been experiencing compounding health problems since the fall of 2015. She has battled an ongoing pneumonia that has taken away her voice, her endurance, and her ability to maintain her job. For several months of that time, she also battled angina. Throughout this, God promised her that her healing “is coming” and asked her to walk with Him in faith. The first bout of angina slowly waned, and she began to regain her voice, her strength and her endurance. Despite dealing with the death of her father in the midst of her recovery, she slowly built herself back up to nearly full-time work. That’s when the second bout of angina struck her down.
My friend’s story is much like Jacob’s. Just as Jacob received a vision of God in the midst of his initial trials, my friend was told by God that her healing was coming. Just like Jacob’s life seemed to have been turning around, my friend was beginning to recover from her initial ordeal. In fact, we were already praising God for her healing. But just like Jacob would then receive the ultimate in deception right when he should have received the reward for his hard work, my friend was struck with and completely debilitated by that second bout of angina.
I know all of you can relate to this, for this scenario is not foreign to any of us. Just as things seem to be settling down, something new strikes and we find ourselves worse off than before. I would be lying if I were to tell you that I am not shaken by these types of circumstances. In fact, they usually serve to thoroughly rock my faith, and I begin asking questions such as: “Why won’t God heal me? Doesn’t He love me? Have I done something to offend Him?”
But has God really abandoned us to our troubles? Has He abandoned my friend? Did He abandon Jacob?
We don’t yet know the outcome of my friend’s story, nor of our own; but we do know the outcome of Jacob’s story:
1. God worked something good out of Laban’s deception. It was a result of the union with Leah, and not the union with the beloved Rachel, that both Levi and Judah were born. Levi would become the ancestral father of Moses and the entire priesthood, and Judah would become the ancestral father of King David, and later, Jesus Himself. It is yet another example of how God works good things out of bad situations: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Rom. 8:28 NLT)
In the same way, God will work something beautiful out of the trickery of the devil in my friend’s life and in your life as well, for, “God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” (Eccl. 3:11 NLT), and “The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.” (Ps. 145:13 NLT).
2. In the end, Jacob did receive Rachel as his wife, and he didn’t even have to wait long: “A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.” (Gen. 29:28b NLT). Yes, he did have to work another seven years to pay her dowry; yet, despite Laban’s filthy trickery, Jacob did receive the desire of his heart.
And you will as well!
Are you suffering from illness? Financial difficulties? Loss of job? Family problems? Death in the family? Loss of your home? Whatever it may be, this is the “Leah” that the devil has thrown your way to shake your faith. It doesn’t matter what circumstance dictates. It doesn’t matter what kind of horrible label the professionals are giving your set of problems. Do not despair, your “Rachel”–the touch of God in your situation–is coming!
So what should we do while we wait?
We should do what Jacob did:
1. He didn’t get angry at God; rather he directed his anger at the one who was responsible for the deception: “‘What have you done to me?’ Jacob raged at Laban. ‘I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?'” (Gen. 29:15 NLT). In the same way, we should not get angry with God. Rather, we should get angry at the devil who is trying to discourage us. We must recognize it for what it is: A dirty trick, designed to shake your faith, for the devil truly prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (See 1 Peter 5:8).
2. Jacob continued to patiently wait for Rachel: “So Jacob agreed to work seven more years.”(Gen. 29:28a NLT). We must also stand firm and wait for God to come through. He will! He always does!
My friend’s healing has begun. In fact, 4 days after this was written, she was given two new medications, and after just a week, there is a marked improvement in her health overall. She will receive her “Rachel”…Her health will be returned to her, for God has promised it. The resolution to whatever circumstances you face right now is also coming. Hold on to God’s promise in faith and wait patiently for Him to come through with your “Rachel”!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.