"And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy young daughter…and Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her."
Genesis 29: 16-30, King James Version
"Patience" - The capacity of calm endurance. Capable of bearing today.
Is there a dream or desire in my life where I need to be patient for God's response?
"Hope and patience are two Sovereign remedies for all, the softest cushions to lean on in adversity."
"Patience is the guardian of all other virtues, and, if it fails, we may lose in one moment the labor of many days."
John of Avila
Letter to a Disciple
Repeatedly over the past few weeks, I've received notes from God's daughters all around the world who tell me they feel they are challenged by "a life on hold." They know God has a plan for them and they want to fulfill His plan - but it seems the evil one continues to throw roadblocks in their paths. They feel stuck in a rut! Have you ever felt this way? If so, then I believe the stories we're going to look at in the next few days will have great meaning to you.
For five days, I want to look at the lives of several women in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, who purposed to stay within God's way and will, no matter how long it took for their dreams to come true.
Being in a holding pattern is tough and no one in Scripture understood this concept more than Rachel. While the story of her life is one of the greatest love stories recorded in history, in order to understand what she went through, her story needs to be reviewed in context and that means going back to Genesis 27.
Here's what happened - and I'm giving you the short version. Jacob and Esau were twins, born to Isaac and Rebekah. In Old Testament times, birth order was critical even down to the matter of which twin was born first. In this case, Esau appeared first. According to the laws of birth order, the "birthright," along with a special family inheritance, were to be bestowed on Esau. On the flip side of this coin, Esau was to step-up-to-the-plate, so to speak, and become the caring leader of his family. Indeed, he was to be the spiritual leader as well.
In this family - Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob - Mother and Dad had favorites, a very unfortunate circumstance in any family. Rebekah, the mother, decided Jacob the younger son, had lived his life in a more deserving fashion than Esau, who was Dad's favorite.
When Isaac got up in years, and the time came for the official blessing to be pronounced on the firstborn, Rebekah decided to hatch a very crafty scheme. She had Jacob pretend (furry coverings and all) to be the hairy Esau. Jacob, instead of waiting patiently and following God's plan for his life, went along with his mother's charade and Isaac, his father, pronounced the blessing upon Jacob. Not long after, Esau arrived from his hunting trip, expecting to have dear old Dad bless him and now an explosion took place. Furious at Jacob's trickery, Esau vowed to kill his brother and so Rebekah, who dreamed this mess up - ended up losing both her boys. Jacob had to flee from his family before he was murdered. And Esau, in anger at this event, left home, too.
Quite a huge price to pay for impatience. This is why it is so important to understand what happened to Jacob before he arrived at Laban's home and met Rachel, the woman who was to become his future wife.
As the Bible tells us, Jacob patiently worked seven years for the privilege of having Rachel as his wife. What I think is so beautiful in this story is that the Bible states these years seemed to him as, "but a few days." However, Laban pulled a trick on Jacob, his future son-in-law, and Jacob ended up working 14 years in order for Rachel to be his wife. A long time to wait!
I want to remind you of something, though. Jacob wasn't the only person waiting. Rachel chose to wait patiently also. She waited for God to give her the right person as her mate - at the right time - no matter how long it took.
In his book about Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob, author F. B. Meyer shares this insightful perspective:
"God has his set times. It is not for us to know them. Indeed, we cannot know them. We must wait for them. If God told Abraham in Haran that he must wait all those years until he pressed the promised child to his bosom, his heart would have failed him. So in gracious love, the length of the weary years was hidden. And only as they were nearly spent and there were only a few more months to wait, God told him, according to the time of life, ‘Sarah shall have a son.'"
If God told you on the front end how long you would have to wait for the fulfillment of your desire or pleasure or dream, you'd lose heart. You'd grow weary in well doing. So would I. But He doesn't. He just says, "Wait. I keep My word. I'm in no hurry. In the process of time I'm developing you to be ready for My promise to be fulfilled in your life."
Take a look again at the question at the beginning of today's devotional:
"Is there a dream or desire in my life for which I need to be patient for God's response?" What is your answer to this question? And I ask you, "Are you willing, like Rachel, to wait 14 years for your answer? Or how about Anna in the New Testament - will you wait 80 years for your dream to come true as she did?"
Of all the essentials necessary for us to appreciate and understand God's purpose in our lives - no quality is as vital as the cultivation of patience. As Jeremy Collier puts it: "Patient waiting is often the highest way of doing God's will."
My prayer is that today I will commit to patiently walking in the will of my Heavenly Father - no matter how long the wait takes!
"Patience with others is Love,
Patience with self is Hope,
Patience with God is Faith."
On occasion, I find a prayer or poem that seems written just for me. This prayer, by Ruth Harms Calkin, echoes the very words I know many of us have spoken as we try to wait patiently for God's will to be worked out in our lives. The title is:
Could You Hurry a Little
"Lord, I know there are countless times
When I must wait patiently for You.
Waiting develops endurance.
It strengthens my faith
And deepens my dependence upon You.
I know You are Sovereign God -
Not an errand boy
Responding to the snap of my finger.
I know Your timing is neatly wrapped
In Your incomparable wisdom.
You have appointed prayer
To obtain answers!
Even David the Psalmist cried
With confident boldness:
‘It is time, O Lord, for you to act.'
God, on this silent sunless morning
When I am hedged in on every side
I too cry boldly
You are my Father, and I am Your child.
So, Lord, could you hurry a little?"
"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord."
Psalm 27: 14, K.J.V.
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.