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Jacob's Troubles

Jacob was in love with Rachel, his uncle Laban’s daughter, and desired to marry her. But he couldn’t marry until he worked 7 years for free for his uncle. Jacob put his mind to it and worked those 7 years for his uncle. On the night after the marriage, he realized that he didn’t get what he bargained for. He had Leah instead of Rachel.

The tradition was that the older sister had to marry first, and since Leah was older than Rachel, Jacob had to take Leah. But if he still desired to marry Rachel, he can work for 7 more years for her. Jacob did exactly that. He put his mind to it and worked 7 additional years for the woman he truly loved. The point? You get what you put in.

If you desire something, you've got to put in the work. You must work hard for it. The depth of joy in our work should supersede even the perilous nature of the work because of our belief that we get as much as we put in. Do you put in all your effort? Do you put in your possible best?

I was shocked by the horrific statistics I read in an article a few weeks ago. The article indicated that since the murder of the children and their teachers in Uvalde, Texas, there have been 730-gun related deaths. Twenty-three of those deaths were children.

A few days ago, there was a story of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated by a 27-year-old man. It so happened that this Ohio native could not have an abortion in Ohio because of the recent Supreme Court decision. This girl was taken to Indiana where she could have an abortion because she was still within the timeframe for an abortion. Without the accessibility of this medical procedure, this 10-year-old girl would have had to carry the pregnancy to term. Well, ask yourself this question: how can a 10-year-old take care of a baby? How would we expect a 10-year-old to nurture a baby?

Thinking about both the gun and abortion issues and how they affect real people, including children, you begin to wonder.

Sometimes it feels like we have become so numb that we might as well give up on fighting and simply hope, hope that these issues will magically go away or at the barest minimum, pray that none of us or our loved ones become a victim. But do we have to live under such a scare in an open and free society? I don’t think so. There’s so much at stake for us to give up. Remember, we’re only going to get what we put in.

There’s a story of a ranch in Japan that produces the best beef in the world. At any given time, there are no more than 1000 cows on the ranch. All the cows graze in the same valley, and every single plant, every blade of grass in that valley is known, catalogued, and deliberately cultivated by the owners of the ranch. The water they drink comes from wells that have all been sunk within this same valley. The same water is used to water the grass every day. There is a lab on the ranch that analyses everything that goes in or comes out of the cows. The animals’ urine and stool are tested to ensure they always have the right mineral levels.

The ranchers take disinfectant showers before and after they come into contact with the cows; in fact, an automated system of gates and alarms has been installed to manage the movement of the livestock in and out of the grazing areas, and done so to minimize human contact. They have created a system that is so regimented and have paid so much attention to what goes into their products that their beef tastes the same, no matter which cow it comes from. They put the time and money and research to ensure that the very best goes into their beef. That is why their beef is the best in the world.

That simple idea of producing quality beef by feeding their cows quality food reinforces the idea in this anonymous quote “Everything you do, everything you say, every choice you make, sooner or later comes back around.”

In a very strange way, Jacob’s troubles are our troubles too because we also have that one woman whom we love or the one thing to which we are devoted. For that reason, we would have to work for as long as possible to ensure that we have the woman we want or the society we want. We do not have to be deterred by the length of time that we have to work.

The abortion and gun issues scare me to hell - especially when considering the effect they can have on children. I cannot believe that the law would require a 10-year-old rape victim to carry a pregnancy to birth. If you need evidence of how broken down our society has become, may you please look no further.

Jacob’s troubles highlight for me the desire of some to take advantage of the vulnerable. But it equally reveals our capacity to overcome abuse and injustice to make good our promises to the people we truly love.

May our love for our children never cease. Like Jacob, they can’t speak for themselves but we don’t have to relent in speaking on their behalf.



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