I have a soft spot for the underdog. When I read about Leah, I picture this oldest daughter whose eyes were bad, whose name meant “cow”, who was given in marriage by trickery.
What I don’t read is her daily inner dialog. Only a few hints at her thoughts, these words heavy–
“… the Lord has seen my misery …”
“… the Lord heard that I am not loved …”
I linger there with her. While other readings speak of Esther’s strength, the Great Commission, Paul’s bold proclamation … it’s this winter morning I sit by Leah.
Leah hoped the Lord’s blessing on her would make her husband love her more. It didn’t. Each time she bore him a son, I hear hope in her despair: misery, not loved, maybe this time he’ll love me … now at last! It didn’t happen. Each time, I wonder if she missed the blessing because she was focused on what she didn’t have.
At the birth of her fourth son, she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. Genesis 29:35 (NIV).
I think of areas in my life: where I may miss out on a blessing because I focus on what I don’t have; when I use the blessings I have (or my works) as a means to gain favor with those whose affections are far; where joy is balanced precariously on another’s opinion of me. How much have I forfeited in the chase for approval?
When Leah chooses to praise the Lord, she stops having children. After enough of “I will be happy if”, “I will be happy when”, she just determines to give praise.
Father, I feel so exhausted some days trying to control things out of my control, burdening myself with the chase of happiness if and when, when I can find peace in you NOW. Lord, when I give you praise, I know it is then I can find rest and joy. Thank you for this reminder today.