And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Genesis 29:25-26
I don’t know if you have ever felt like Jacob or not. He fell in love with Rachel, asked her father Laban for her hand in marriage and was told that he could purchase her dowry for seven years of labor. There was no reason to doubt Laban’s word because he was extended family and sincerity was assumed.
Jacob worked willingly, and joyfully, as he anticipated the day he would marry Rachel. He expressed something quite stunning ~ when he said that the labor he would offer for seven years would be ‘as one day’ ~ so great was his love for his bride-to-be. But then the plot took a sickening turn. Laban deceived Jacob. The wedding veil would not cover the face of Rachel but the face of her sister, Leah. He would be tricked, and seven years of his life would have been wasted. Could God be the redeemer of lost years? That seems to be the question.
Have you ever signed up for something that would be of great cost to you only to find out later that certain information was withheld from you? You realize, too late, that you would have made a different decision entirely. Some marry under false pretenses. Many others make business decisions under a shroud of deception and end up losing everything. Some bare their soul to a confidant and later uncovers that the information has been used against them. Each of these scenarios involves great losses, one of which is time.
Jacob was forty when he went on his journey to meet Rachel. Hardly a young groom. To lose seven years on top of that must have seemed depressing but there is no indication that he plummets into despair. He loves Rachel enough to jump into another seven years of labor for the joy of finally having her as his wife.
Hindsight into Jacob’s story offers us golden insight into the plans of God for people’s lives. His blessing for Jacob wasn’t thwarted in the least by Laban’s deception. When I’m the child of the great Redeemer, what seems to be lost years aren’t even a problem for God. When others sin against me and steal from me, it is spiritual futility to fall into bitterness. The energy and despair (and the strongholds that result from it) are really what’s wasted. Don’t I know the power of the One whose child I am? For three years, I despaired over 22 lost years, years I suffered under the deception of a ministry partner, only to discover that the years weren’t lost at all. They were teachers for the great redemption to come!
I’ve also learned that joy in You confounds and frustrates the one who sinned against me. Is there any greater victory and testimony? Amen