In Genesis 31, Jacob talked to his wives, Rachel and Leah, about the challenges he was having working with their father. In all the years that Jacob worked for Laban, most of the arrangements proved unfair to Jacob. It seemed that he just could not get a break.
It was probably even harder to deal with the fact that this was his father-in-law. Not only was Laban a bad boss, but he was also family! Those types of relationships are often much more difficult to walk away from.
But Jacob held on. He stuck through the hard times for years. Then, one night, an angel of God came to him in a dream. He reaffirmed for Jacob that God had seen his struggles. He was also given confirmation that now was the time to leave and return back home.
Jacob was a great example to us of how to deal with our challenges. We can almost be sure that there were many times when Jacob was slighted by Laban and ready to leave. We, too, can find ourselves ready to quit a job and walk away as soon as something does not go as we may have liked.
But rash decisions are often bad decisions. Proverbs 14:17 tells us, "A quick-tempered man does foolish things." (NIV) Can we think back on how many times we wished that we could take back a decision that we made in anger and in haste?
When we are careful and thoughtful before making decisions, we are usually better able to live with the consequences. When we take time, we are able to pray and meditate on the situation. It gives us an opportunity to hear from God on the direction He wants us to take with respect to that circumstance.
That's my daddy!
Proverbs 20:22 confirms our need for patience. It reads, "Do not say, 'I'll pay you back for this wrong!' Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you." (NIV)
As weak and irrational human beings, we always think that we can solve our own problems. In most cases, our problems are bigger than us. But we have to remember that we are children of the King. There is nothing that He cannot handle. In fact, there is nothing that He is unwilling to handle on our behalf.
We can relate our relationship with our Heavenly Father to our relationship with our own children. Is there anything that we would not do for them?
Now, we do have to keep kairos time in mind. Although we live in a world of instant gratification, God does not. In fact, we've probably been spoiled too much by the internet, digital and wireless gadgets, and drive-thrus. God is a king, but He does not operate like Burger King. It will not always be "our way, right away."
Remember, Jacob's ordeal lasted years and years. We can look at other Biblical figures whose challenges also lasted years. Abraham waited years to have an heir. Joseph spent the remainder of his childhood and his early adult years away from his family. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. In each of these situations, God showed up. It just was not right away.
As we move forward, let us meditate on Proverbs 15:3. It says, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good." (NIV) He's watching, and He will deliver us. We must be still enough to wait on Him, listen for His direction, and be ready to move when the time is right.