Blessing and Conflict
When you look at Jacob's sojourn in Haran, he has a lot to complain about.
Deceit : He is tricked into an extra seven years of labor.
Idolatry : He has at least one wife -- his true love -- who worships idols.
Family conflict ; There's an ongoing conflict between Jacob's wives and children.
In-law injustice : Later he endures constant struggle with Laban who changes his wages ten times, always trying to better himself at Jacob's expense.
Escape : He has to flee when Laban is away to be able to go home.
Do you call that blessing?
But look at it from a larger perspective. Jacob came empty-handed and left with many children and great wealth. Indeed, God has been with him and watched over him (28:14-15) -- and even blessed Laban on his account (30:27).
Too often when we are experiencing trials we complain. "Nothing seems to be going right." How hard our life is. Too often we can't see the forest for the trees.
Blessing always comes amidst conflict. Name one person in the Bible whom God blessed and blessed others through, and I'll show you struggle and suffering. Sometimes we act as if God has "promised us a rose garden." He has promised to bless us and to be with us, but he doesn't promise all sunny skies. Jesus told his disciples:
(John 16:33) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
And this is God's word to you today, you who feel defeated, beat up, and sorry for yourself. Jesus says to you: Take heart, don't be discouraged, my child. I have overcome the world.