Trust Him to make up the difference
How does it feel to be loved? Perhaps you’d say love is feeling –
When I met Donna, we were teenagers. It wasn’t very long before I realized she was a special young lady. Maybe you’ve imagined falling in love is like walking along, and there’s a manhole, and the cover has been removed and – you just fall in. You just kind of disappear, but that’s not the way it happens.
Donna and I’ve been married over 50 years. I keep telling her I love her more now than I did then. The years continue to pass and change, but there’s something about feeling that love when you’re with someone. I’m not talking about just in marriage, although that’s critical. If you feel unloved and you’re married, some particularly complicated and difficult things have occurred.
When we talk about love, we’re not only talking about romantic love, sexual love or those kinds of intimate loving experiences, but it’s also about being accepted and feeling loved in our other important relationships.
We live in a hard, difficult and unloving world.
In fact, recent surveys show that 52% of Americans report feeling lonely. We can feel alone in a marriage. We can feel alone in a lot of different situations even though we’re with other people.
And we can be alone. Some of you who are single can feel loved and appreciated and still live alone.It’s not always proximity that makes the difference for someone feeling loved. Let’s talk about how God cares for the unloved.
Much of the music played on Family Life Radio is for those who feel unloved, lonely and are looking for God’s love. Through the music, they’re experiencing God’s love. Because of you, we are able to help people who are feeling disconnected and unloved in their life to feel loved, accepted and valued … by God.
God has a special place in His heart for those who feel unloved.
In this blog series, I’ll share four stories of people who are unloved, but in different ways. We’ll look at how God responded to these four people in Scripture.
Leah, Rachel and Jacob’s story is often focused on Jacob finding his beautiful bride and working for 14 years of service so he could marry her. We don’t usually stop and talk about what Leah must have experienced.
Leah and Rachel were sisters; Leah was the oldest of the two, and Scripture says that Rachel was the pretty one. Genesis 29:17 says, “Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance” (ESV). Leah was not the one who caught Jacob’s eye.
Jacob went to Rachel’s father and asked if he could marry Rachel. Her father, Laban – a shrewd guy— said, “Work for me for seven years and you can have her.” So, Jacob did.
Seven years later, on the wedding night, Rachel’s father switched Rachel with Leah. And when Jacob woke up the next morning, he pulled back the covers and to his surprise, and not to his delight, he had married Leah (Genesis 29:25).
He went to his father-in-law and asked, “What’s the deal?”
Laban says, “It’s our custom. The oldest must be married off first. If you want Rachel, there’s seven more years of work. Jacob happily agreed because he loved Rachel” (Genesis 29:26). Jacob didn’t have to wait seven years to marry Rachel, but he had to commit to work for his father-in-law for another seven years.
How would you feel if you were Leah?
Genesis 29:30 says, “Then Jacob also went to Rachel” (ESV). He consummated his marriage to Rachel, the one he loved the most.
As a marriage counselor, the last part of that verse caught my eye … “and he loved Rachel more than Leah.” This was put in Scripture for a reason. Leah was tolerated, needed and stuck. She wasn’t first; she was second.
How does it feel to be number two in an important relationship where you should be number one?
It’s also important in any relationship to recognize when you’re being tolerated and not really being accepted or loved.
God responded to Leah, the unloved, “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless” (Genesis 29:31 NIV).
God has a way of making up the difference for those feeling unloved.
God did something for Leah that didn’t happen for Rachel. And this became a major issue for Rachel, especially in her relationship with Leah.
One of the beautiful things you find, if you study Scripture and genealogy, is Jesus came from the lineage of Leah, not Rachel. God has a way of making up the difference.
If you feel unloved in a relationship, it’s important to trust God. You don’t know how He’s going to make up the difference, but He will. In Leah’s case, He did an amazing thing. He opened her womb, which is a really big deal, especially for a woman who lived during this period and in this culture.
Leah’s story is a testament that God sees even when others don’t see. You don’t see Leah’s father stepping up and doing anything about Leah’s situation. You just hear about Leah being the unloved and tolerated one.
Today, you can be in a relationship where you don’t feel accepted and valued for who you are but only tolerated because of what you can contribute. That hurts, but remember, God has a way of making up the difference.
In the next blog we’ll look at the stories from the lives of Mary Magdalene, Hagar and the criminal on the cross.
I pray that we will become sensitive to those around us, to be loving to people, accepting in terms of pointing people ultimately to the Father, because He’s the only one that can make up the difference.