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Framing God

What I'm Reading Today: Genesis 33-36

Like many folks it's easy for me to succumb to the old "Why me?" response when the going in my life gets rough. Luckily, today's story from Genesis provides a counter from such an approach.

Early in today's reading we encounter the story of how Shechem raped Dinah, Jacob and Leah's daughter. Dinah's brothers responded in the way many individuals might – by seeking vengeance not only against Shechem but against the entire community in which Shechem lived. It would appear they took such radical action without informing their father Jacob – for when Jacob heard what they had done, he lost it.

At that point in the story, it would have been easy for Jacob to slide into full-blown "Why me?" mode. He could have cried out, "Why did MY daughter Dinah get raped? Why did MY sons act so impulsively? Why did MY family get put in such a precarious position now that they have ticked off our neighbors? Why ME?"

It certainly would have been understandable for Jacob to respond by asking any (and all) of these questions.

Instead, Jacob responded by doing something else. After conversing with God and developing an action plan, Jacob responded by framing his actions in the following way: "I'm going to build an altar [in Bethel] to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I've gone since."

What an amazing way to frame God in a moment of crisis. Not as one who was the cause of the trouble, or one who allowed the trouble to happen; but rather as the one who answers him when he is in trouble and sticks by him everywhere he goes!

There's a great lesson in there for all of us regarding how we frame (or think about) God when the going gets tough. Today, I would invite you to think about that question for yourself. When your back is up against a wall and anxiety threatens to take over your life, how do you frame God?

Til next time …


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