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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Anne Robertson

Monday, February 28

So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
—Genesis 29:20

Everybody who’s ever been in love can relate to this verse. It is the romantic ideal sung by courtiers thousands of years later…the love that endures through hardship. We all know at some level that when we are suffering for love, we hardly notice that we are suffering. 

Women volunteer for labor pains for love of a child, coal miners risk their lives day after day to provide for their families, people pour heart and soul into art for love of the creative process, volunteers give what employers never could demand for love of an organization or cause.

Suffering is at the core of the Gospel. The “good news” tells of a God who is willing to endure suffering out of love for us, and we are encouraged to accept that model for ourselves. Across two millennia there have been groups that believed God actually wanted suffering and that we should inflict suffering upon ourselves to prove our love and faithfulness. I don’t think that was God’s point.

I think the point is much more basic. We live in an imperfect world that often operates outside of God’s will. That causes problems just as certainly as machinery that gets assembled without regard to the instructions. Sooner or later, something malfunctions and people get hurt. Suffering ensues. That is the world we live in and the life we lead. We suffer and God suffers with us because God loves us.

When I am suffering, I tend to cry out to God, to complain, and to ask, “How long, O Lord?” God doesn’t blast me for that, just like God doesn’t condemn Job or the Psalmist or Jeremiah for doing it. But I think God’s hope is that we will, in time, come to be like Jacob, willing to serve under difficult conditions and hardly notice because our love for God is so great.


Long-suffering God, fill our service with love. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.