There are times in life when nothing seems to be going the way you planned. Trust me, I can attest to it!
Last night I was playing soccer with my team when all of a sudden, I blocked a shot with my left ankle and something didn’t feel right. Despite not feeling 100%, I played on. I refused to accept that anything was wrong and the next morning, that’s when it hit me. My ankle was bruised, swollen, and I could barely walk down the steps to take my pup out to go potty.
Now, here I am, stuck at urgent care awaiting the results of an X-ray, hoping and praying that nothing is broken. I had to take a half-day of sick leave from work, which, of course, I wasn’t planning on taking today, and that threw me into a mood.
Don’t we all have moments like these, where we are just minding our own business and then an obstacles smacks us in the face and we’re left wondering where in the heck it came from?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure Leah was feeling exactly the same way.
During Biblical times, it was the local custom to marry the older daughter first before the younger. While it is unclear why this was the case, we see in the book of Genesis that it is such a strongly upheld law that no exception can be made.
Jacob traveled far to flee from his brother Esau; we all know the story of how Jacob met Rachel and instantly fell in love with her. Sounds like a perfect ending to a beautiful life, right?
Let’s be honest here. Laban was kind of a manipulative pain in the butt. First, he constantly changed Jacob’s wages. And not in a good way. Like, who does that??
And then, to top it all off, he denied Jacob of the one promise he made him and switched his daughters on the night of Jacob’s wedding.
So now Jacob was stuck with the daughter he didn’t work for, and Leah was stuck with a husband who didn’t want her. Sounds like a super fun situation to be in, am I right?
So, in order to get what he wanted, he worked another seven years for the woman he desired. Imagine how heartbreaking that must of been for Leah to hear! It’s like, “oh yeah, I never really wanted you in the first place, so I’m just gonna stick around so I can get the actual woman I want, and then be on my way. Thanks. But don’t worry, you’ll basically be a great fill in for now!”
And just like that, Leah’s life went down the drain. At the end of the seven years, Jacob received his prized possession: Rachel, not Leah.
Friends, doesn’t this seem like the nightmare we really wish weren’t true? Is there any end to the pain for Leah?
“The Lord knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, and so he gave children to Leah, but not to Rachel.”
~ Genesis 29:31 (CEV)
I just love the way this version puts this verse! “The Lord knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah”.
God saw her; He didn’t ignore her pain! And so, He did what He knew would bless her further than anything else: the ability to have children.
In case you didn’t know, in this culture the ability to have children was one of the highest honors a woman could attain. Even though she wasn’t seen as “the prettiest” in her husband’s eyes, she was the only sister that was able to give him what he wanted most: sons.
But even with sons, it wasn’t enough! Jacob still loved Rachel more, and slowly but surely she started to steal him away. Again. She gave her servant Bilhah to Jacob to have children in her place.
And there went Jacob’s gaze again: back to Rachel.
In retaliation, Leah gave Jacob her servant Zilpah as a wife when she realized she wasn’t having babies anymore. She was triumphant!
But God wasn’t done yet.
Friends, no matter how painful it might be, we serve a God of fairness and mercy. He heard Rachel’s plea as well, and enabled her to have children of her own.
Rachel had won the favor of Jacob yet again, but even in what seemed to Leah like the end, God had something AMAZING in store. Take a look back at Genesis 29:
“Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, ‘Now I will praise the Lord!’ And then she stopped having children.”
~ Genesis 29:35 (NLT)
What important word do you see in that verse?
In the midst of her heartbreak, God used Leah’s line, not Rachel’s, to bring forth the most important figure in all the Christian faith: Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it easy for us to get so caught up in our troubles that we can’t see God working? Isn’t it easy to wallow in our circumstances and try to find a quick way out of a problem? Isn’t it easy to deny our own weaknesses and try to control a situation? At the same time, is it just as easy to see that God is a good Father who will use our struggles for good, even when they look bleak?
Friends, hear me out: when something in your life suddenly goes wrong, that could be the turning point God is wanting to use to bring about your greatest blessing.
So trust Him in the darkness. The light that comes will be so bright, you won’t be able to see what came behind you.