I learned something I hadn't noticed before when studying the life of Jacob. It isn't something that was written, but it was something that was missing. In Genesis 27:46 we read Rebekah's (Jacob's mother) last recorded words. We read nothing about her again until she is mentioned briefly in Genesis 49:18 noting her burial in the cave of Machpelah along with the patriarch Abraham, Sarah, his wife, Isaac and Leah.
So what's my point? Rebekah's last recorded words cunningly persuaded Isaac to send her favored son, Jacob away so he wouldn't marry a pagan wife. In reality, Rebekah wanted him sent to her brother Laban in order to save his life from Esau's vengeance. Before Jacob leaves home, Rebekah makes a promise to him that she can't keep. She promises to send word to him when it is safe to return. That never happens. Commentators believe Rebekah never laid eyes on her son Jacob again. All we know according to Genesis 35: 27-29 is that Jacob eventually came home to Hebron, and he and Esau buried Issac. It's assumed that Rebekah died previously, although nothing is recorded about her actual death.
When I realized that she never laid eyes on her son Jacob again, I felt sad for her. She tried for so many years to maneuver Jacob into the position she believed was rightfully his, only to die before there was any resolve. She never saw her boys reconcile. She never saw Jacob marry and she never saw her grandchildren. How did all this happen when things appeared to look so promising? Hadn't God promised before the twins were ever born that the "elder would serve the younger?" Where had Rebekah gone wrong? Wasn't she simply trying to "make sure" that what God promised would actually occur?
I don't know if you can relate to Rebekah or not, but I sure can! Did you notice in reading about Rebekah there wasn't a time that she inquired of the LORD? She never asked God what, if anything, she should do. She just decided to take matters into her own hands and used her ingenuity to try to work things out. I don't think Rebekah was intentionally trying to ignore God and His plan. I just think she was used to trying to orchestrate circumstances for a favorable outcome. Can you relate?
I remember when our oldest daughter, Heather turned 15. I contacted the Young Continentals, a touring Christian singing group. I was sure this would be a perfect fit for my teenage daughter. You need to know the back story, however, in order for this to make sense.
Years earlier, when I found out I was pregnant, I prayed something very specific for the child in my womb. In those days, we didn't have the technology to find out the gender beforehand, so I just prayed that this child would be given a "beautiful voice to praise God with." I absolutely love worship, but I am NOT a singer. I wanted this child to have what I didn't--a voice that could beautifully offer praises to the One who rescued me and given me new life and purpose.
I still remember the day I found out that my prayer had been answered in part. Heather's junior high choir teacher told me that Heather had a beautiful voice with a four octave range! I really didn't have any idea how good her voice was until that moment. I silently praised and thanked God for gifting her with such a voice. Then, I went to work! I was sure if I got her connected to this Christian touring group this was the sure answer to solidifying her faith and commitment. Just like Rebekah, I took matters into my own hands. Certainly God would use this opportunity to surround Heather with other Christian young people who loved God and the 6 week trip across the U.S. would be the other half of the answered prayer!
I won't go into the detail, but I will tell you that Heather called us once in that 6 week period to tell us she was having a fabulous time, that she loved "this" type of life, and that she didn't need parents! She ended up coming home at the end of that summer, more independent and determined to do her life her own way!
It has been over 17 years since that trip and I am still praying and waiting. I've learned a lot about waiting on God in these years. Most importantly, I've learned to trust Him to bring about His purposes in His time. And like Rebekah, I've learned the hard way that He doesn't need my help.
If you're a younger mom reading this, let me spare you some heartache. Learn early to fully entrust your children to God. Resist the urge to "help" God out when they are teens by orchestrating their friends, activities, or choices. Give them guidance and communicate openly with them, but let them fail, make bad decisions and don't try to circumvent the consequences. Let reality and grace be your partners, and allow God to do His work His way. And, you can pray the verse I've been praying over Heather all these years!