Sunday, February 14, 2016

Unfailing Love: Leah's Encounter with the King

   On Valentine's Day, I always like to reflect on the idea of love and what it looks and feels like to me. Somehow around this time, God always shows me through his word just how much He loves and cares for me.  About a month ago, I was doing my daily devotional and I happened to read the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah. Most people know the story of Jacob and Rachel, but not many focus on Leah. So i wanted to shed some light on Leah's story.

   The story begins in Genesis 29. Jacob was on his way to his family to look for a wife. He gets to the land where his family is supposed to reside and his eyes behold Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel. He worked for seven years just so he could have her as his wife. But at the end of the seven years, Laban gave him Leah instead (verse 21-23). The Bible describes Rachel as “lovely in form and beautiful  while they described Leah as having “weak eyes” (verse 17). Needless to say, Jacob was not happy about it.  Have you ever wanted something so bad, worked for it and then at the end you didn’t get it or you got it but it wasn’t what you expected? Well that’s how Jacob felt. But i want to take a look at how Leah felt.   

   Leah was unloved and unwanted and everything in her environment reinforced this truth. Her truth. She was living in the shadow of her sister’s radiance.  I could only imagine how she must have felt. Feeling like you’re someone’s second option or like you’re not an option at all can do something to you. It can break you down to your lowest point.  It can affect your feelings of self-worth. You can feel as if you’re not good enough. It can leave you broken. However, the beautiful thing about rejection is that God sees and He cares.  The Bible says that He will not despise a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).  So God saw Leah’s brokenness. He saw how the feeling of being unloved and unwanted had blinded her from seeing how special she was to Him. 

   In order to show Leah that He cared, he opened her womb and allowed her to give birth (v. 31).The tables had somehow turned.  Leah had become the favorite but in God’s eyes. At first, Leah looked at her children as a sure way into her husband’s heart.  She was certain that having his children would boost her status in his eyes (v 32). After giving birth to three sons, Jacob’s feelings STILL did not change towards her.  3 kids! That is a lot of kids for your husband’s heart to not even turn slightly towards you. For him to not even bat an eyelash at you. Can’t even get a wink. Nothing. Shoot. My husband better love me after 1 kid lol but I digress. Let's get back to Leah.

   She then gave birth to a 4th son but this time something changed. She said in verse 35, “This time I will praise the Lord.”  What happened to change Leah’s mind? Did Jacob finally love her the way she wanted him to? Nope. What changed is her perception. Leah had a revelation. She finally realized that the love she was looking for in Jacob and in her family, could only be found in God.  God didn’t allow her to have children so that Jacob could love her. It was so that she could understand His love for her.  Through her brokenness, God placed something great within her. She not only gave birth to physical beings but she also gave birth to something in the spiritual. She gave birth to the manifestation of God’s love for her. And just as a child grows, it began to grow inside of her. He not only opened her womb but he also opened her heart so that she could experience true love. Her eyes were finally opened to the love and acceptance her heart desperately longed for.

   We may have all had a Leah moment. Overlooked. Unloved. Unwanted. Wondering when our turn to be the object of someone’s affection will come around. Meanwhile God is sitting back and looking at the hurt that dwells within us. He wants us to know that those feelings that we are feeling are not what He feels for us.  He loves us so much more than our hearts and minds could ever know.  Jeremiah 31:3 says, I have loved you with an everlasting love. With my unfailing kindness, I have drawn you to me.   Often times, we want to be accepted when He has already accepted us and called us friend. We want to be “down” with the cool kids, when He is calling us to go higher! We want to be the object of someone’s affection when we’ve been the center of His joy since we were created (Jeremiah 1:5).  But somewhere along the way, someone or something told us this was not true. Someone or something told us that we were not good enough and that we will never be accepted. 

   So how do we get back to walking in God’s truth? The truth about how He feels about us.  The truth that says true love can’t be found in things, friends or in “bae” because those things are not a guarantee.  Things and people will come and go. But God is constant (Hebrews 13:8).  He wants us to know that he can take our hurt and brokenness and turn it around for our good (Romans 8:28).  He will cause you to give birth to something greater than you’ve ever imagined. The one who was rejected will now be considered a great asset (Acts 4:11). The same friends who shunned you, will come to you needing your help. You will find a better job than the one that turned you down. God will present the one He has for you when the time is right. God will push you forward all while revealing His love for you.  You will go from walking in the shadows of defeat to walking in the light of His love.

   Rejection can be good for you. It may hurt but God sees you. He has not forgotten about you or your needs. He loves you and He is passionately pursuing you. (1 John 4:16). Let's stop seeking validation from others and walk in this truth.