Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

I told you that the pragmatic prayer at the foot of "Jacob's ladder" wasn't the end of the story. (And if you don't remember me telling you that, you can look back at Mr. Jacob, If You're Nasty for a refresher course.)

Fast forward twenty years... during which Jacob manages to work himself into two marriages & a seemingly never-ending competition between his two wives (who are, in a twist worthy of redneck reality TV shows, sisters) to see who can have the most babies. These ladies are desperate enough to enlist the help of their maidservants in the Bambino Derby. (And don't get me started on the names they saddle these kids with... sheesh.)

Jacob also has to cheat/manipulate/pull the wool over the eyes of his 2x father-in-law (who is, in a twist worthy once again of reality TV, his uncle) in order to keep from being cheated/manipulated/lied to himself. Jacob & his extended family would make tremendous guests for the Jerry Springer show.

At the end of twenty years, though, Jacob & his wives decide to head home. (For sake of time & clarity, I'm omitting the intriguing if odd story of Rachel stealing her dad's idols, sitting on them to hide them & claiming that it's "her time of the month" so no one will search beneath her.)

As he gets ready to face his older brother, Esau, who threatened to kill him for stealing his birthright two decades earlier, Jacob once again finds himself praying in the wilderness. Only this time, it's a little less pragmatic... with a lot more perspective.
And then Jacob prayed, “God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, God who told me, ‘Go back to your parents’ homeland and I’ll treat you well.’ I don’t deserve all the love and loyalty you’ve shown me. When I left here and crossed the Jordan I only had the clothes on my back, and now look at me—two camps! Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I’m afraid he’ll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children. You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count.’” 
Genesis 32:9-12, The Message

Now Jacob sees his real position before God - not as a wily negotiator of goods & services but as a humble servant. It's no longer about making a deal but about acknowledging reality.

I don't think you get that kind of view of your relationship with God with age - heck, I wish it worked that way. I'm 49 years old chronologically & 42 years old as a follower of Jesus... if age was the slow factor in seasoning someone spiritually, I'd be a very wise man.

I believe it's not the years, but the miles - that the experiences Jesus leads us through and the way we handle & react to them that makes the difference. Some people never grow out of playing "Let's Make A Deal" with God - others, blown away by His presence & power & grace, do so at a much younger age.

My prayer today: for experiences in my life that cause me to see clearly His love & loyalty to me, even when I don't deserve that kind of treatment.

No comments: