Tuesday, July 23, 2013

like leah

"Now Laban had two daughters.  The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.  Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.  Jacob loved Rachel....so Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her...but in the evening [Laban] took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob... and in the morning, behold, it was Leah!  And Jacob said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me?  Did I not serve with you for Rachel?  Why then have you deceived me?'... So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah."
 "When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb."
"And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'This time I will praise the Lord.'"
-Genesis 29 (esv) (selections)

Growing up, the love story of Jacob and Rachel was one of my favorite Bible stories.  Jacob loved Rachel so much that he worked for her father, Laban, for seven years to earn her hand in marriage.  And when Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, Rachel's less-attractive older sister, Jacob worked another seven years to marry Rachel as well.  It was such a romantic story and I could easily envision a grown-up version of myself playing the part of Rachel, while my future husband-to-be would clearly epitomize Jacob's love and sacrifice anything and everything for me.  What a perfect love story.

The person that I missed in the story, as a kid, was Leah.  I always glossed over her because, well, she was the unattractive, less desirable sister - her name literally means "cow."  She wasn't the object of Jacob's affections.  And she was thrust in the way of Jacob's and Rachel's perfect love.  Jacob never wanted to marry her and Rachel didn't want to share Jacob with her.  Laban didn't want to keep her.  Leah was the unloved sister.

Here's the thing, though - we can all relate to Leah and learn from her story.

Surely we all at one point in time have felt like Leah - not good enough, unattractive, unwanted, forced into big life changes that we didn't necessarily want, rejected by those closest to us, unloved, unimportant, maybe even hated.  Maybe things didn't work out the way you had planned - surely Leah never envisioned her life to play out the way that it did, sharing a husband who didn't love her with an uber-competitive sister.

But Leah was beloved to the Lord.  She Reads Truth puts it best: "The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, saw behind Leah's tender eyes and discerned her heart. Leah may not have been "lovely in form," but she was exactly what God was looking for through whom to establish the house of David and the lineage of Christ. Leah recognized her children as blessings directly from the Lord, and despite the pain of rejection and her unquenchable desire to be loved by her husband, she praised Him."

If you feel unworthy, unloved, or unhappy with current life circumstances - look to Leah and how much the Lord loved her.  Just like Leah, you are beautiful and special to Him.  And even if those closest to you may fail you, He never will.  In fact, He will bless you far beyond anything you could ever imagine for yourself - just because He loves you and delights in you.  You are, and forever wil be, His precious princess.

Now that is a perfect love story.

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