“When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb…And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the LORD.’ Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.”
Reading this portion of Leah’s story in Genesis 29, I am drawn to an underlying purpose in her childbearing.
Leah was unloved (hated, by her husband and her sister) and unwanted (her husband had not and did not want her – nor had anyone else desired to marry her). The Lord saw her pain, and He gave her children to show His presence and favor, and to bring her comfort.
Yet there is a pattern in the births of Leah’s first three sons. Her focus is continually on her husband. Longing for his love and attachment, and understandably so. But it is in the birth of her fourth son, Judah, that I believe we can see what our gracious God wanted to accomplish in and for Leah.
He gave her comfort in her pain, but comfort alone was not His only goal. His ultimate desire was that her eyes would be drawn to her Comforter. Not to the one who hurt her. He wanted Leah to find wholeness, healing, and joy in the God who hears her, the God who sees, the God who answers her cry. The God who loves her. When her eyes turned again to Jacob for acceptance and fulfillment, she was once again left bereft.
But God didn’t give up. He kept pursuing, kept answering, kept loving her and beckoning her to Himself – to find her identity in Him and discover her immeasurable value as one who is His.
O Lord, don’t give up on us, either. As our eyes are drawn to that which will not fulfill us, as we are awash with hurt and disappointment, comfort us in grace and tenderly, patiently work to turn our eyes to You. That we may say with Leah, ‘This time I will praise the LORD.’ Because You hear us. Because You see us. Because You make us whole, and our heart’s delight and healing are found in You.