My husband is a brilliant thinker, my greatest encourager, and a constant source of fun. I couldn't think of anyone else but him to be the first guest writer on this website. Don't worry, I am paying him well. Very well.
“When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 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.” Genesis 29:31-35 ESV
Leah, the unloved wife of Jacob attempted to "earn" her husbands love by bearing him sons. Sons were a sign of honor.
When her first son was born, she even stated, "now my husband will love me!" But that didn't happen.
Then came another son, Simeon. But nothing changed.
Jacob seemed to not notice that she had supplied him with his only heirs, and so at the birth of the third son she said "this time my husband will be attached to me." All to no avail.
Finally, a fourth son is born, Judah. Leah says, "this time, I will praise the Lord."
Have you ever tried to win a boss's approval or a teacher's favor? Working extra hours, doing extra credit, extra extra extra - and then nothing changes? Or even, things get worse? The boss still cuts your hours, the teacher still gives you a hard time, the coach pulls you from the game early. You've done everything you know you should do to earn the "A" grade in their book and somehow you still seem to come up short in their world?
This is how Leah felt. She had done the miraculous of 3 boys in a row - which would have been a great sign of honor in that era - and yet, she still felt unloved. Even hated.
When it came time for her fourth son, Judah (which means "praise") she finally turned her attention to the Lord, "this time, I will praise the Lord."
We cannot make someone love us, let alone like us. We cannot force a boss to give us that raise or force a client to sign on the dotted line or force our parents to pay for that college even though we are their favorite child. (Insert your name here:)
But we all can look to God.
We can work as if we are working for him. We can turn in assignments as if He is the teacher. We can play as if He is the one watching in the stands. We can live as if we are living for His attention, and not the attention of another.
If you've ever been in a spot like this (I have many times) we can get frustrated and think frustration is our only logical end.
Or we can say, like Leah, "this time, I will praise the Lord. This time, it's about Him. This time, my work is for Him. This time, my assignment is for Him. This time, my giving is for Him. This time... It's all for Him, all for His glory, and all for his Praise.
Praying that this encourages you wherever you are.