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"Peace amid Pain "
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Why is Pain?
First: Jacob and the divine purification (2)

Jacob entered the furnace many times in order to become how God wants him to. The impurities of deception and trickiness in Jacob did not get out of him after God has saved him from his brother Esau when he fled to his uncle laban.” So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”  And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebecca. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, “Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Lab an in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there.” (Genesis 27:41-45)

Jacob’s deception did not leave him even after having spent 20 years in the fire of his uncle Laban ; he described those years to Laban saying: “There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times”(Genesis 31:40,41).  And instead of backing up from his deceptions after the 20 years, he escaped from laban deceiving him also. The Bible says: “Jacob stole away, unknown to Laban the Syrian, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee” (Genesis 31:20).  But God with his mercy has come to Laban in a dream to prevent him from harming Jacob.  And Laban has admitted that and said: “Now you have done foolishly in so doing.  It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, and ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad” (Genesis 31:28,29).

Even if Jacob has done many things with deceitfulness and silliness as Laban said, yet this did not prevent God’s loving kindness to him and has not reversed the blessings. “For the LORD your God is a merciful God, He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them” (Deuteronomy 4:31). 

On His way of purifying us, God never forgets his loving kindness or his promises to us “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).  When God allows pain, He permits it for a limited time, but His mercy is unlimited.   This made David say in Psalm 103 “He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever… so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him”

Let us be confident and comforted that we are in our God’s Merciful hands for He who said: “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you” (Isaiah 54:7).

Magdy Samuel

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