Has the joyous answer to a prayer ever led you to heartache you never imagined possible?
Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, loved his wife Rebekah. But she was barren. After twenty years of disappointment and many prayers, God opened Rebekah’s womb (Genesis 25:21). Imagine their joy when they discovered that God had finally answered their prayers.
However, when the twins were born, the atmosphere in the home changed drastically. Isaac doted on Esau, the son who loved to roam the countryside and hunt. Rebekah loved Jacob, the son who hovered around the house, learning to cook and tend the flocks. No set of twins could have been more different than these brothers were.
As Isaac and Rebekah’s love for their favorite sons increased, the harmony in the home decreased. When we enter their home in Genesis 26, it is a cauldron of deception and animosity—just the sort of chaotic environment in which Satan does his best work.
Rebekah knew Jacob was God’s chosen heir. Before the boys were born, God told her that “the older would serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). But her misapplication of the truth God had revealed to her wreaked havoc in the family. She may have been sincere in her desire to help Jacob, but she was sincerely wrong.
Rebekah first sought significance and happiness through her marriage. When that didn’t fill the hole in her soul, she scooped motherhood into the gaping pit. Then she tried manipulation and control. But the hole seemed bottomless. Whatever she shoveled into it was swallowed by the unhappiness she experienced.
I wonder if Rebekah ever realized her mistake. Nothing and no one can ever satisfy the longing in our soul except God. Anything and anyone we shove into what theologian Blaise Pascal called the “God-shaped vacuum” in our soul is bound to be mangled in the process. Significance comes not from who we are, what we do, or what we have; significance comes from knowing Whose we are and from aligning our desires with his will for our lives.
God answered Isaac and Rebekah’s prayers for children. Yet neither of them could have imagined all the turmoil and trouble that would come from their mishandling of God’s will for their lives and the lives of their sons.
I invest a lot of time in asking God to answer my prayers. Maybe you do too. And we may even remember to thank him for answering those prayers. But are we as faithful in asking him to help us manage the blessings he gives in ways that consistently glorify him? Do we daily bring our plans, our loved ones, our work life, and out ministry opportunities to him and seek his guidance?
Oh, Lord, help us to not only thank you for answered prayer but also commit ourselves to honoring you in the way we manage the blessings you provide. Amen.
Next Step: Read Genesis 25:19–34 and Genesis 27:1–46. Consider all the ways Isaac and Rebecca mismanaged the blessings of parenthood. Ask God to help you manage the blessings of family, work, and ministry in ways that honor him.