Maturity; April 19, 2021

Genesis 25:23 The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”

It strikes me that Rebekah’s twins were God’s plan. God used Ishmael, Abraham’s mistake, in tempering and training Isaac and his descendants, and He used Esau the same way, to train Jacob and his descendants. You can’t blame Esau on human error! Actually, parenting was a real issue, as verses 27-28 indicate, but as Paul expressed clearly, God uses even our mistakes to bless us in the long run. (Romans 8:28) Jacob would never have become Israel without Esau to teach him some painful lessons. That doesn’t justify either man’s actions, but it does teach us that we aren’t to despair when we blow it. God knows how stupid we are! The whole point is to keep learning from our mistakes. Current society tries to insulate children from the consequences of their actions, or from any pain at all. That is a tragic mistake, as a quick look around will tell you. We have created a generation of snowflakes, who melt at the slightest heat. One young man I know was recently accepted onto a professional sports team, and he’s broken out in hives from the stresses of expectation and performance. Fortunately, his parents recognize that they probably coddled him too much, and he needs to buck up and “grow a pair,” as the saying is. Another young man is in an excellent job, but is reacting to mean things some of his coworkers are saying to and about him, tending to accept what they say of him as true instead of standing up for himself in his own thinking. God allows these things to grow and mature us, to teach us to rely on Him and the gifts He has placed in us. We aren’t to be lazy, much less give up. As Jesus said, in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) We aren’t to complain about it, but rejoice that God loves us enough to mature and polish us as He knows we need.

This is easy for me to see, from the viewpoint of 72 years, but I also need to remember that God isn’t finished with me yet, either! I too tend to complain at difficulties, and I have less excuse to complain than young people, because I can see how difficulties have benefited me. I am continuing to grow, however. Yesterday we had just four people in the service, counting Cathy and me, which was not only a drastic reduction from the week before, I also had high expectations of how God was going to move. It’s entirely possible that He did move, since I have very little feedback from those who participate in our services electronically, but it didn’t match my hopeful scenario. However, God gave me complete peace about it, and it ended up being a very good day. Like Paul said, I need to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for [me] in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Father, thank You both for this reminder and for Your patience with me. I’ve been pretty slow to grow and mature at times! Help me indeed “press forward to win the prize,” just like Paul said, (Philippians 3:12-14) so that I may be and become all that You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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