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31Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 10

I’m preparing to speak on gratitude this weekend, so I thought that I would take the next few days to write some of what I am thinking and preparing.
Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she named him Judah Then she stopped bearing. Genesis 29: 31-35
I wonder what it was like to be Leah. She shared a husband with her sister and she was unloved by him. To me, this would be a terrible, unbearable situation. The LORD begins to bless Leah with sons. The way that she names them suggests to me that she was suffering profoundly and had become completely focused on earning her husband’s love as a way out of her misery. With each one, I hear hope in Leah’s voice. Maybe with this child, my husband will love me. Maybe the birth of this son will give me what I desire.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3
I wonder if it was hard for Leah to receive her gift of children from the LORD because of her deep hurt from her husband’s rejection and her unfulfilled longing to be loved. I know that I often have a hard time celebrating God’s gifts to me when I am preoccupied by what He has not given me. It must have been miserable for her to see Jacob’s love for her sister Rachel on a daily basis. I can only imagine how hard it would have been for Leah to intentionally choose to praise God despite her painful circumstances. But, this is exactly what seems to happen with the birth of her fourth son.
“This time I will praise the LORD”, said Leah. Something significant must have shifted in Leah between Levi’s birth and Judah’s birth. She does not reference her husband or being unloved. She declares that she will praise the LORD. This is important in and of itself, but I think that it also reflects that she was finally able to receive her children as her gift from the LORD in that season.
I think that Leah is a good Biblical example of how to rejoice in the LORD in all things and how practicing gratitude can transform a person.
Still counting gifts:
·         #510: Blue skies and puffy white clouds
·         #511: Mike Bickle’s study of the book of Zechariah to start my day
·         #512: Discovering that Joel Rosenberg has a blog
·         #513: How God keeps inviting me into His deeper, secret work in the hearts of man    
·         #514: Sharing a glass of dry, red wine with my dad while we talk


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