Most of the time when my grown-up kids are around, the conversation is matter-of-fact, what they’ve been up to, how things are for us, who’s done what etc., but sometimes you get a moment of real connection, of heart sharing. It’s what makes genuine relationships, between family, friends, even colleagues.
As I look at the passage of Genesis 27, entitled in my bible, ‘Jacob gets Isaac’s blessing’, the question that entered my head, was, ‘Why doesn’t Isaac just get on and bless Esau? Why the meal?’ And I think the reason is because he wants some last real connection with this his favourite, wayward, elder son. He gives him the opportunity to shine – Esau is a good hunter and capable in the kitchen – so they will have connectivity and rapport.
I think there must have been desperation in Isaac for this level of relationship. He could no longer see, it is true, but he missed so many signs that he’d got the wrong boy. Did he not notice a difference in their voices? Was he not surprised at the speed of response? Was there no difference between Esau’s skin and goat skin? Didn’t the meat taste like goat? Didn’t he really know the difference between the real Esau and a fake one? Was he really so easy to trick? I can only think that he was desperate to believe that this was the genuine Esau. Maybe he was silently worrying that Esau would not be sufficiently motivated by the promise of a blessing to be bothered complying, and so glad he had apparently come, that he was easily deceived. We can only guess at the heartache of a father longing for his son to make good, and to enjoy this last shared moment with him.
This story helps me realize how vulnerable elderly folk can be – especially those who are lonely or disappointed with life. They can choose to be fobbed off with stories from their erring family, because it’s what they want to hear. As a church family, we need to be aware of that, and sensitively respond.
But it also reminds me that we all need to be alert. There are many people who will connive and take advantage of some weak point. Disappointment can be a real chink in our armour – whether it’s in relationships, career, finance, health, opportunities, or anything else. We need to make good relationships with trustworthy people, and watch out for each other – that’s what ‘being church’ is about. And we need to deal with disappointment. We need to let God take the sting out of it, and we need to let it go. Feeling sorry for ourselves makes us vulnerable, and can lead to more disappointment. We need to get over it, get wise, and get on with life, in all its ups and downs.
(I would just add that for some people, who have faced huge or multiple disappointments, you may need help to deal with issues. Pray for someone appropriated you can share it with, and get the help you need, so you can start enjoying life again.)