“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. Then she stopped having children.” Genesis 29:35
Hi. I’m Leah. I’m sure you’ve heard of me. I’m ‘the other one’. Don’t feel awkward or anything, really. I’m used to it. All my life I’ve been ‘the other one.’ That’s what I’ve always been called. The cross-eyed one. My sister was the beautiful one and I was the other one. Some people tried to be polite about it but it’s hard not to notice all the admiration and the proposals Rachel got while I got nothing. I reckon I wasn’t too bad a person…some may even say I had a great sense of humour…but no one would really know because I was always written off before I ever got a chance to show off my good qualities.
I was disqualified in the first round because I was ‘the other one.’ So you can imagine the combination of hope and shame as I got dressed to marry a man I knew was here for my sister. Hopeful because maybe he would be the one to finally see how much I can offer and dare I say it?…hopeful because maybe one day he would look into my eyes and see something beautiful.
The shame was because my father had to use deceit and trickery to get a man to marry me.
Shame, because I went along with it. Shame, because I felt like that was my only chance.
Anyway, skip past the wedding, the disastrous honeymoon where my hope was dashed by the look of sheer disappointment on my brand new husband’s face when he discovered that it was not Rachel he had made love to, but me.
The Other One.
Fast forward past the point where I have to accept my sister as my husband’s second wife and first (and only) love. Jehovah has mercy on me and opens my womb and I have a son…Reuben. ‘Because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now,’ I said. (Gen 39:32)
Didn’t work. Jacob still didn’t love me.
Then I had another son. Simeon. ‘Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, He gave me this one too.’ (Gen 29:33) Still nothing. Seriously, what does she have that I don’t? Why am I invisible to you Jacob? Don’t you see how hard I try? Then I had yet another son and I said ‘Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ I named him Levi. When I had my 4th son, this is where the magic happened. Years and years of trying, begging and pleading for attention, affection, affirmation, validation, recognition, admiration came to a crashing conclusion when I said “This time, I will praise the Lord.” It didn’t matter anymore if this child brought Jacob to me or not. It didn’t matter if everybody would say “Look at Leah! Isn’t she amazing? How lucky Jacob is to have her! What was all the fuss about Rachel anyway?”
My son was named Judah and I gave praise to God!
Here is why I love Leah’s story. I am no theologian, but I do believe that nothing happens for nothing. I believe that there is a reason why it was Judah’s tribe that Jesus was born into. I believe that there is a reason why Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. It may not be just one reason, but I believe that when we praise God in the midst of terrible circumstances, we bring a blessing into our lives that will be carried throughout generations. That little boy that was named Judah to praise God’s name, became one of Jesus’ forefathers! (Geneology of Jesus: Matthew 1:2-16) What an honour!
What a blessing! When we bless God, He blesses us! Doesn’t it give you hope that God chose “the other one” to be the mother of Jesus’ forefathers? God bless Rachel, but someone knows what it feels like to be Leah.
I want you to know that God doesn’t see you as “the other one.” In His eyes, you are The One. The world may be waiting for a blessing that right now is in your womb! All you have to do is praise God. Sometimes it will feel like there is no reason to praise God. You’ve tried and you’ve tried and nothing is working. Your pillow is stained with tears and you’re all prayed out. When you can’t do anything else, you can still praise God. Praise Him just because He’s God. Praise Him just because He is good. Praise Him JUST BECAUSE. Your blessing is coming. Jesus was born several generations after Judah, so your blessing may not come tomorrow or next week, but as you pray and believe, always PRAISE. Because your blessing will arrive just in time.