And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’”
And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”
And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’” Genesis 32:3-12 ESV
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me. Psalm 86:3-7 ESV
Casey was hiking with her mother. The trail was unfamiliar, and they had taken a wrong turn. It was going to get dark soon, and Casey was getting worried. Her mother had promised, “I’ll get us back safely.” Casey didn’t know how her mother would find the way back. “Mom,” she said now, “You promised to get us home safely, but I don’t know how you’re going to do it. I’m worried!” Just talking to her mother made her feel better. Remembering her mother’s promise was comforting. Her mom reminded her that she had always found the way before. She promised again that they’d make it home, and soon they were back at their car.
God had promised that he would be with Jacob as he came home again, and keep his family safe so that it would grow to a huge number. But Jacob was very worried. His brother was coming after him with a small army! Jacob knew that Esau might still want to kill him, and he was worried about all his children and their mothers. He knew he wasn’t strong enough to fight Esau, so he did the only thing he could do. He talked to God and remembered God’s promises. He couldn’t see how God could help him, but he prayed that in some way God would take care of him and protect him.
When things are rough for us, we can pray to God just like Jacob did. He promises to always hear our prayers and help us. We don’t always know how God will help us, or how he will answer our prayers, but we can trust his promise. We can remember the promises God has already kept for us, times he’s taken care of us, and prayers he’s answered. Most importantly, we can remember how he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we know that no matter what happens, we are God’s children forever and will always be safe in God’s hands.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing our prayers and for helping us when we have troubles. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.