On Saturday at church, we attempted to plow through the story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah in Genesis 29-30. What a messed up, real, yet hopeful story of God’s blessing in the midst of chaos. My thoughts centered on the reality that God continued to bless Rachel and Leah in the midst of their longing for other things. Rachel was given love from her husband and Leah blessed with many children. Both were said to be blessings from the Lord. We find these two ladies continually crying out for something they couldn’t have.
Contentment is a nasty ordeal isn’t it? Perhaps, one of the easiest ways for us to lose focus on the blessing of God over our lives is to think about what we don’t have. What we’ve lost. What we wish could be. If I was just in that place, that job, married to that person . . . and on and on the ride goes. We’ve all been here. Perhaps some of us live here. And, it is certainly a formula for frustration. A sure way to stay miserable – just ignore the blessings of God poured out over our lives.
At times I have thought that American culture is completely backwards when it comes to being content in our current situation. Craving for money, power, and success truly do rule our lives at times. I’ve often idolized pieces of African, Asian, and Latino culture because of the strong relational focus they bring. While these traits are wonderful gifts from the Lord, discontentment knocks on all of our doors. It pounds and pounds to the point where we either deal with it or continue to ignore it. Every culture, every family, every person deals with this gnawing feeling to try to escape and not deal with what is before them.
What then would this mean in challenging the most vulnerable to embrace the blessings God has given them? While the refugee highway may be paved with pain, loss, and tears, it is also a place where God continues to lavish his rich blessings. God gives many who are stranded on this highway the ability to keep going, keep moving, and stay hopeful. What a gift. That hope can come from no one other than the Sustainer of all things who continues to bless. I don’t know if I have what it takes to survive on such a highway, but I do know what it feels like to lose things, people, and abilities that are precious to me. My dear friend Paul taken by a logging accident in college. My eyesight taken away day by day. Seeing dear friends and colleagues struggle deeply through horrible train wrecks in their marriages and careers. It isn’t exactly a refugee highway, but it sure has the markings of hell that roll over many parts of the globe.
Into this we all have to learn how to speak of, sing out, and perhaps scream aloud the rich, wonderful, extravagant blessings of God. He is the Source. He holds it all together. We can’t afford to live in frustration by ignoring His strong hand in all things.