[Read Genesis 29-30]
Jacob’s story is motivational and very encouraging especially to those who wait and persevere in pursuing. Similarly, Rachel’s life is an inspiration for the ladies—that they are worth the wait and are worthy of pursuit in God’s time. However, we neglect the life of the other woman in the story who also loved Jacob, but never received his love back. The one who is rejected and hated. Because, how could her story be a model for ladies (or to everyone)?
Jacob requested for Rachel’s hand when Laban, Rachel and Leah’s father, asked him what he wanted as a reward for his service. There may be a lot of things and factors that Jacob considered in choosing Rachel. Attitude and intelligence maybe? One thing is sure though: Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Leah on the other hand had weak eyes, that could itch and become watery from time to time. In the story, Leah sure is unattractive.
Seven years have passed but it seemed days for Jacob for his love for Rachel is exceptional. Unfortunately, it was a tradition that the older sibling should be married first, so Laban deceived him and gave him Leah. Devastated as he is, he accepted Laban’s offer that he should serve another seven years for Rachel’s hand because he loved Rachel so much. Years seemed days for him just to get whom he loved, yet there was never a single day he considered for Leah. The fourteen years of service was all for Rachel. Leah was unloved.
God blesses what the world hates.
God knows that Leah was unloved and hated (Gen. 29:31) for wrong or no apparent reasons. How broken her heart must be because she knew that she was never enough for the person she loved. How miserable must she had lived all those fourteen years, seeing Jacob persevering for her sister’s hand. I could only imagine her everyday looking at the mirror, questioning about her appearance and worth that would lead her into crying to sleep at night. Jacob never saw her worthy of a day of his service—of his love. She was neglected, and not only unloved, but hated.
However, God has been faithful, that indeed, He is close to the brokenhearted. He favored Leah and blessed her womb while closing Rachel’s. And Leah conceived Jacob’s sons.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV
God blesses those who choose Him.
Leah was confident that Jacob will come to love her because she bore him a child, Reuben, while Rachel did not. Still not being recognized by her husband, she gave him another two sons hoping that soon he would love her back. But he didn’t. Because he loved Rachel more than her all those times.
Experiencing another heartbreak, she realized that she was looking from a different perspective and was asking for the wrong thing. She realized it was God who blessed her womb. That God made her to conceive and He favored her. She had seen that it was Him who had been by her side when the people around her cared less about her existence. It was God who loved her when his husband could not, and it was God who blessed her while her sister envied her.
So, Leah praised God after conceiving the fourth child—Judah. She chose to focus on God and to be grateful for what she was given. She focused on God’s love rather than earning her husband’s. She stopped thinking about herself—about what she wanted—and focused on what she could give God: her praises.
She gave up on something that would last and chose to worship the One who never ends.
Leah’s eyes may be weak, but she did not fail to see and recognize the true love that had been there all along. God loved her even before she praised Him. And He blessed her with something that she did not ask, nor she could ever dream of.
From this, God made her a vessel of blessings. Not only she who received blessings but also the next generations of her blood and bones. She is the mother of the tribe of Judah—in which our Messiah, Jesus, came from. And instead of Rachel’s, her bones were the one buried along with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah’s bones. It is a privilege to be buried with God’s great people, more than that when heroes today are buried in the heroes’ cemetery.
The unattractive, unloved, and brokenhearted was used by God for His glory. He used her weaknesses and what the world deemed as lack and unattractive, so that His power and glory will shine and be shown all the more.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
You may sometimes feel like what Leah felt. But choose God. Choose to get down on your knees, worship, and be grateful because you have Him. You don’t have to earn people’s favor because the truth is, you already have God’s the moment you receive grace. You may feel too broken for God to use, but there’s nothing He cannot fix.
Keep your eyes on God because just like Leah, He is faithful to use your brokenness and weaknesses for His glory.