You ever read and studied a part of the Bible, then rediscover the same verses years later, only for them to have new personal meanings? I love when God speaks to me through His Word on such a personal level.
I first completed a precept bible study on Genesis & Exodus approximate 8 years ago. In the study, there was the story of Jacob and his lineage, which included his two wives, Leah and Rachel.
The thing was, he only wanted Rachel. Jacob had become smitten with Rachel – love at first sight. Jacob was determined to do what it would take to have the beautiful woman all to himself, agreeing to work 7 years for her father as his payment.
But Jacob was tricked, and given the ‘ugly sister’ on his wedding night instead. The Bible never uses the word ugly, but it’s very vague about how the unwanted sister’s (Leah) appearance is portrayed. The only thing we know is she had delicate eyes. Not sure what that means, but we know unequivocally that her sister was beautiful “of form and appearance,” and the one adored by Jacob.
Jacob ends up eventually obtaining the pretty sister, Rachel as a wife as well. We can all imagine how that must’ve played out without ever reading the ending. Leah was probably merely tolerated.
Although the story doesn’t end without her getting some vindication. The good Lord sees her pain and gifts her with fertility, while the gorgeous, loved sister had to watch, unable (for a while) to produce any children for her husband. This was probably the only time in Leah’s life that she felt favored over her prettier sister.
Unfortunately Leah refused to accept God’s grace and love as being enough. Although it was God who opened her womb for her while her sister was still without child, she still chased after the affection of her husband, instead of seeking God with a contrite heart.
When she finally got her priorities in order, God blessed her with a son that would be the lineage of Jesus. It was not until then that she had the child that would be Judah.
I can empathize, and sincerely feel Leah’s pain as I read this story again years later. I’m willing to bet there’s a ton of other women out there joining in her pain as well.
Part of my own struggles that caused me to be unfaithful was having the mindset of Leah. I was, for many years, distantly loved. There was minimal “real” affection. There was no heartfelt admiration. My husband’s eyes seemed to look around me most of our first decade, instead of at me. He even owned photos of an ex for many years into our marriage, and not one of me. I longed for him to admire me just a fraction as much as he had seemingly admired his ex when I wasn’t around. It hurt. Hurt is an understatement, so I can’t fathom what it was like for Leah to be faced with sharing her husband with her beautiful sister.
I say these things not to paint him as the villain, but to drive home how I can relate to Leah’s pain. I felt for years that I was sometimes merely tolerated, never yearned for. I couldn’t relate to Rachel. I never felt that I had the outward beauty in my husband’s eyes that would make him proud enough to own my photo.
It wasn’t until I began rebuilding my relationship with the Lord, that I could truly see things from His perspective. I broke not only His heart, but the covenant I had made with my husband had been tainted as well. No matter how unloved and wronged I felt, I knew God was more broken by what I did than I could have been by the seemingly unrequited love I desired. The fear and love of Jesus was suddenly on like a fire in my heart that I’d never previously experienced. I was not brave for confessing what I did. I loved God, and saw He loved me, ugly parts and all, when I was anything but worthy. The only way I can explain to an unbeliever to make you understand, is that when I surrendered, He wrote His love and ways on my heart, and that will never be undone.
After disclosure of infidelity came out in our marriage, and the veils were ripped between us (and God again), is when God gifted me with my husband. That was not my motive, nor did I even expect to remain married when I told him about my infidelities. The irony was when I quit seeking for my husband to fill a void he was never meant to fill, and gave him to God, and I then sought God, is when God filled my cup with the love from a new husband.
It didn’t make everything perfect in our marriage. The insecurity will creep back in from time to time, but I’m trying to be more like the older Leah. I don’t want to be bitter. I want to seek the joy from God and allow Him to pour His blessings in afterwards. That’s how it always should have been.
Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way.
Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want because He has a bigger plan. As was the case for Leah.
If you are a woman that feels unloved, unwanted, or ‘un-beautiful’, remember that God sees past vanity and superficial beauty. He sees the heart. Seek Him first, and then things will fall in their rightful place. He loves you more than you can ever know.❤️