The First Fight

Suggested Reading: Genesis 30:1-3

Trouble was brewing in paradise.

Jacob worked 14 years to marry his true love, Rachel, yet all those years were as “a few days” because he loved her so much. They finally got married and lived happily ever after-well, not exactly. Jacob had been tricked into marrying Rachel’s older sister, Leah, so now there was competition. Rachel soon noticed her sister bearing child after child while she remained barren.

As women sometimes do, Rachel snapped at Jacob, demanding he give her children. As I read this story I had to laugh. It was the first recorded marital spat in the Bible and it was eerily reminiscent of many fights I’ve experienced in my own marriage.

I suspect I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I have a problem so I inadvertently demand my spouse fix it, whether I say it outright like Rachel, or imply it with my poor attitude. Either way, it takes my focus off the One who can actually solve my problems and give me peace.

Jacob, enraged at Rachel’s attitude, declares, “Am I God? He is the one responsible!” In other words, “Woman, what is wrong with you? Your beef is with God, not me!”

And so it is with me and you. Our beef isn’t really with a person, place or thing. It is with God, for He allowed the circumstance, the person, the event to take place. Instead of griping at our spouses or complaining about our problems on social networks, we should get on our knees and take it up with God. I suspect we’d find, in the presence of the Holiest of Holies, we really have no argument at all.

Streams in the Desert

Streams in the Desert

 “Restore our fortunes, Lord,

as streams renew the desert.

Those who plant in tears

will harvest with shouts of joy.

They weep as they go to plant their seed,

but they sing as they return with the harvest.”

Psalm 126:4-6 (NLT)

This passage is a beautiful word picture of glory restored where sorrow once reigned. We are given an array of scenes to describe the spiritual restoration. Sparkling streams in a barren desert; laboring with bitter tears in contrast to harvesting with dances of pure joy; heavy grief followed by melodious singing. What a magnificent imagery!

If there is to be beautiful streams of cool flowing water, we must be given a picture of something seemingly opposing to make this stream even more glorious in appearance. What could be more opposing to a crystal clear stream of water than a dry, brown, wasteland of a desert?

Restoration involves opposition. How can we truly experience all there is to know of joy unless we have wept those bitter tears of agony? Would the singing be as sweet without the somber sorrow? Would the dancing be as jubilant without the perilous pain? Would the harvest really be as sweet without the perseverance, faith, and cries to our Father?

We are being called to a restoration of the glory we were created for. The image-bearers of our very God-made for Him, by Him. If we want to be that glorious reflecting stream of water, fully alive, flowing throughout a dry land, bringing life to all we touch, we must accept our surrounding deserts. For He made the sparkling streams and the barren deserts alike.