on Monday, September 12, 2016

   Do you ever struggle with longing to be fully known? How about finding your joy and contentment in other people and things rather than the Lord? In this week’s blog, Dr. Rhonda Kelley shares with us about a woman in Scripture who experienced the same struggles. Read on and enjoy!

"Leah – An Unloved Wife" - Genesis 29:16-35
"When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren" v. 31).

     The most fundamental human desire for women is to connect with other humans, reflects God's design for us as relational beings. We want to be fully known by another, and then accepted and loved. We live our lives in little villages of other people. We seek out new friendships and join small groups for "community." We long to find husbands who will want to know our most secret thoughts and who will love us when they are revealed. In contrast, our greatest fear is that when our true self is revealed, the response will be rejection.

     In this passage, Leah is wrestling with this very desire. She married a man who did not want her, but she was hopeful that once he knew her his heart would change.  The morning after her wedding, Jacob awoke infuriated to find her in his bed instead of Rachel. Can you imagine her pain? She was vulnerable and exposed before him, and his actions told her, "I do not want you!" Of course, Jacob had every right to be angry. Laban intentionally deceived him after seven years of hard labor, and Jacob's dreams were dashed in an instant. Yet the reality of the situation probably did not soften the blow to Leah's heart.

     As weeks turned into years, Leah remained the unloved wife. Jacob's heart did not change toward her as he grew to know her more. The Lord saw Leah's pain, and began to bless her with children. With the birth of each son, Leah's hope swelled - perhaps the husband who did not love her would finally "become attached to" her (v. 34). But the story stayed the same. Jacob loved Rachel, and Leah felt rejected. Not until she truly found contentment in her relationship with her Lord did she ceased striving for Jacob's affection. In her wisdom, Leah knew that God cared for her and that His love for her was endless. Even if her circumstances never changed, she always had a reason to praise the Lord!

     Our desire for a loving husband-wife relationship reflects our need for the only One that could ever truly fill our hearts. Ultimately, nothing can satisfy our need to be known and loved like an intimate walk with Jesus. Leah was able to find contentment and rest in her heavenly Father's love even in the absence of earthly love. When we look to relationships with other people to meet our deepest need, we will always find ourselves disappointed. God knows even the deepest, darkest parts of our hearts, and yet His love for us remains unchanged and unending. Let us never cease to sing His praises!

Devotional Excerpt from: Rhonda Harrington Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson, The Devotional for Women. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2015. Used by permission.