Long before there were messy love situations and women grappling with emotional alienation in their relationships, there was the Leah situation.
Her story is one for women, who in one way or the other, battle with feelings of rejection and inadequacy.
Perhaps the narrator of the Jacob-Leah-Rachel fiasco was diplomatic in his description of the agonizing situation that Leah found herself in. We find her in Genesis 29 married to a man who was not in love with her.
“Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.” (verse 30)
She was the secondary choice for Jacob and the powerless pawn in a trap her father Laban had set for Jacob.
But God recognized Leah’s plight and entered the fiasco.
“When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, He made her able to give birth.” (verse 31)
God opened up Leah’s womb so that she could give birth to Jacob’s children. Her ability to reproduce raised her value as a woman (in that time) and reminded her that God cared deeply about her.
Still, every time she bore a child, her one desire was for Jacob to love her more.
In her heart, the ultimate gift of a child was more than enough to “tie” him to her and spring forth within him a deeper love for her than what he had for her sister.
“Leah was able to have a child and she gave birth to a son. She gave him the name Reuben. For she said, “The Lord has seen my trouble. Now my husband will love me.” (verse 32)
But with every child, Leah became disappointed to learn that Jacob only wanted one woman – her sister Rachel.
“She was going to have another child and she gave birth to a son. She said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me because I have given birth to his three sons.” (verse 34)
And this disappointment shifted Leah’s perspective from Jacob to the Lord. This change in perspective is beautifully captured through the naming of her children.
We see a woman longing for the love of a husband who did not want her …to a woman who acknowledging that God had honoured her through the gift of fertility and raised her worth by giving her sons (her direct blessings from the Lord).
And despite the pain of rejection and her unquenchable desire to be loved by her husband, she praised God.
“She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.” (verse 35)
Sometimes, I am a Leah – and I find myself feeling unwanted, unnoticed and unnecessary … to a circle, a love-interest or a role or job. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit always brings my biblical sister Leah to mind.
And every time, I am gently reminded that God sees me, He loves me and He cares for me….deeply.
And there are times, even upon receiving God’s abundant favour, that I still end up hoping that my love interest, my professional colleagues or those within my circle would see my value and finally pour upon me the validation that I desire.
That hope never comes to life.
And God in the kindest of ways continues to pour favour upon my life until I become content with His care and validation. And although fully embracing His care and validation is a slow process for me, He continues to bless me bountifully until I accept that His care and validation are just as real as the air I am breathing and sure as the rising sun.
Our feelings of inadequacy, rejection and hurt by a loved one who doesn’t love us as God requires are unique and real. Even then, God still enters our situations and continues to mend our hearts, raise our value and shift our perspectives with blessings of varying natures.
For this, even now, we can praise the Lord.
P.S. If you know of someone else in a Leah-esque situation, offer a prayer for her too.
(c) 2017, Dentrecia Blanchette