Sometimes when things happen, it's hard to get outside of our lens and see the big picture. To see how God is using it in many peoples lives. Do you have a story (or have you heard of one) of something difficult the Lord allowed in your life where later you looked back and saw how it impact many others for the good?
Dinah's life is like that. Something awful happens to her yet it is the very thing God uses to get Jacob, her dad, back to a place where remembered what was true about God and got a very clear picture of all God had done for him.
Genesis 34-35 tells Dinah's story. Basically this creep Shechem, a spoiled son of a ruler, sees Dinah, Jacob's daughter, and rapes her and then tells his dad to go get her to be his wife. Jacob heard about it and waited until her brothers got home. He was not being passive, indifferent or cowardly, but waiting because he needed their help to act. Shechem's dad, Hamor goes to Jacob's house and asks him to give him his daughter. Brothers walk in hear what happened and were furious but came up with a deceitful plan running ahead of God's judgement on the Canaanites. They gave Hamor their sister demanding all the men be circumcised. Three days later they went and rescued their sister and killed Hamor and Shechem and every male and then carried off the women and children. Whoa huh! Talk about returning evil for evil.
But the hope comes is the first verse of chapter 35. "Then God said..." How beautiful that here, right in the middle of pain, hurt, lost dreams and hopes, bitterness, shame and guilt, God takes initiative to speak.
God tells Jacob to go back to the place where God had appeared to him before he was fleeing from his brother Esau. it's like moving from a desert to a garden, from an emergency room to a wedding reception. Years and years earlier Jacob was so self absorbed he was deceitful to get his way. Now, he is able to look back and see how much God had changed his heart and life. He got to see his restore his relationship with his brother and got to see that just as God had said He would be with him, He was.
In chapter 33 and chapter 35, the name of the Lord is mentioned, but it is completely absent from chapter 34. Isn't that how it feels when we are going through times we feel completely hopeless. But the next chapter does come and we get to see God unfold the big picture. In chapter 35 El Shaddai, meaning God Almighty, the all-sufficient One and specifically emphasizes God's might over the frailty of man is mentioned 10 times. It's like the big finale. God comes through.
In our pain, in our suffering, God comes through and truly uses all things for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. It truly is all about Him, the creator of the big picture.
Check out other posts in this series:
Potiphar's Wife; Life Unrestrained
Woman at the Well; Experiencing God's Grace
Rahab; Ms. Courageous meet Prince Charming
Damaris; Counted Among Them
Eunice and her faithful reward
Midwives; What they have in common with Chick-fil-a and Cake
Miriam; What's the big deal with dishonor?