I have been following the first devotional “path” in the (In)courage Bible. (I’ll likely review this soon but know so far I like it a lot.). Today’s story was from Genesis and was one that is of course familiar to me. My name came from it.
The story of Rachel and Leah. (Genesis 29-30)
I didn’t always like this story. I fact, growing up, at some point my brother found out my name in the Bible meant “weak eyes” and he found that really funny and tortured me with it. (It doesn’t help that I was blessed with glasses at the age of 3.)
Here was my take on the story. Leah is ugly. Her parents had to trick someone into marrying her when the guy just wanted her sister. He got stuck with her and eventually got her sister to. Her life must have been awful. The end.
As I read the story tonight, coupled with the excerpt on Leah, something different struck me. First, she never gave up. She wasn’t bitter really. (In fact the bitterness came more from Rachel.). She continually tried to please her husband by giving him children, the one thing she could do. She couldn’t do anything about who she was, but she could pray for blessings on her husband. And she gave him sons, which was everything in this culture.
The second thing is she grew closer to God because of her trials.
Leah grew closer to God with each child she bore. She learned to praise God in her brokenness and loneliness, giving praise to the one who always met her needs.
Through it all, God continued to bless her. It wasn’t a secret that her husband was tricked into marrying her. It wasn’t a secret that he loved her sister. She could have been bitter and unloved, but she put her faith in God and every time he blessed her with another child, she gave glory to Him.
Leah was unloved and broken, but God turned her brokenness into praise.
I can’t help but wonder a little about her backstory. Did she love someone else? Did she love Jacob but was a little heartbroken when he loved her sister instead? Did she have grander plans for her life and bigger hopes than to be married off to her sister’s boyfriend? Did she want to be there?
How many times have we found ourselves somewhere we don’t want to be, striving to find our place in a world we don’t quite fit into, looking for love where we might never find it? What is our response? Is it praise? I don’t know about y’all, but not usually in my case. Bitter, party of one.
What if we came to a place where we see God’s blessings in the midst of the broken places where we don’t want to be? What if instead of the bad, we make a conscious effort to see the good?
Will it come easy? Of course not. But it couldn’t have been easy for Leah to watch her husband love Rachel in spite of the fact that Leah blessed him with sons when Rachel had not. But she found God’s blessings in the midst of trials.
This is not a sermon being preached to the people reading this blog post. If it applies to you, then that’s a bonus. This is a sermon I’m preaching to myself. I need to take a page from my namesake and learn to praise God when things don’t work out like I wanted them to. In this season, I need to look to the blessings instead of focusing on the disappointments. I need to see where God has taken me, instead of what has been taken from me.
I need to find peace in the broken. I need to find praise in the broken.
And still God shows that he uses the broken, just like He said he would. Leah bore the descendants of the Messiah because through it all God still blessed her too.