Saturday, October 18, 2014

Leah: Transformed by Prayer

Have you ever been tricked? Not a small practical joke, I mean something life-changing.

In Genesis 29, the story is told of Jacob who worked seven years to win the hand of lovely Rachel in marriage. After Jacob completed his seven years, Rachel's dad tricked him and placed older, and not so lovely, sister Leah in the marriage bed with Jacob. (One wonders, how did Jacob not notice?? But that's a story for another day...) In the morning when Jacob discovers the deception and complains, dad offers him Rachel as well.

Two sisters, one husband. Who feels tricked the most? Leah.

When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, He enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”

Leah, through no fault of her own, found herself in a heart-breaking situation. Instead of having her own husband who loved her, as God intends for her and all His daughters, Leah's father forced her into a situation where she was in a marriage to a man who had multiple wives, and she was the one who was unloved.

But God sees Leah. God shows her special favor and allows her to have children, and not her sister Rachel, the much-loved wife. God says no to Leah's most desired prayer, to have Jacob love her, but God makes sure she feels valued and loved by Him. After many years, much misery and four children, Leah is grateful in a new way.

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah (meaning "Praise"). 

Cell: My current method of prayer
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During the past few weeks a friend from church has been in a heart-breaking situation of her own. Her cancer was found early so her prognosis was good, but the treatment put her in the hospital twice. As we text-ed back and forth and fervently prayed for her recovery, we both discovered a profound comfort in seeking God. God does not answer always as we wanted, but the process of coming before Him with such an urgent need changes you. It changed me. My friend still suffered but she knew, without a doubt, that she was loved by God.

Sometimes God provides a miraculous end to a horrid situation. Sometimes God sits beside us while we go through it, if we seek Him. Sometimes, as He did with Leah, God shows us His special favor and mercy without changing the situation.

Beloved Jesus, You see our misery and You weep with us. Help us to turn to you for comfort. Allow Your presence to be felt. Allow my interaction with You to change my heart even if You do not change the situations that pain us. Thank You that You never leave us alone. You are as close as our next breath. We are so grateful, we praise You!

Read the story of Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29.

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