Daily Worship

A stolen blessing

Rhona Cathcart July 19, 2017 0 1
Image credit: James Cathcart

Isaiah 55: 10-11

10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    it will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Nina Simone’s soulful voice adds extra punch to her words: “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh, Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”.

How often do good intentions in relationships get caught up and blurred or twisted by circumstances, or our own issues? An older sibling tries to protect a younger one and it comes across as bossiness. A younger sibling wants attention and it is read as neediness. A middle child feels ignored, unappreciated.

Perhaps Jacob was right to grab onto his father’s blessing. To protest the cultural rule which said it was the inheritance of the eldest son. Or, more personally, to protest a lifetime in which his elder brother got the lion’s share of their father’s attention and affection.

But love can’t be stolen. It can only be given. 

Trying to steal his father’s love, cost Jacob the love of a brother. Ignoring his mother’s love, cost Esau the love of a brother - for many years at least, until God brought them together the hard way. Both brothers, each convinced they were the good guy, had to work their way through feelings of betrayal and neglect.

It’s easy to feel we are the only ones overlooked, neglected, misunderstood. Family life can be tough. And it isn’t always fair. 

But we have a right to be loved, just as we are, without having to ‘steal’ that birthright from someone else. God sent his living Word, Jesus, into the world to reassure us of that.  And his Word does not return empty. 


Which one am I, God?

Am I the pretty one, the smart one, the popular one?

The rebel or the peacemaker? 


We all try out different roles, I guess 

while working out who we are, 

and where we belong - in the family, at school, at work.


While I’m working on it, 

please work on me, God.

Help me to understand I don’t need to compete with anyone for your love or your attention

It is my birthright, and it cannot be stolen. 

We love, because you first loved us. Amen.