When we experience unbearable miseries in life we get immersed in our own situations and problems. During those moments our self-esteem and self respect will be at their lowest. If we remain too long in that state we can soon become too negative towards ourselves, everyone around us and even towards God. Our thought for our reflection this morning is, “Our God Wants Us Focus on Him During Our Times of Misery."
Again she (Leah) conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." So he was named Levi.
Leah’s sorrow, disappointment and deep sense of rejection is revealed through the names she gave to her first three sons, Reuben, Simeon and Levi. Those names reflect her deep yearning for Jacob's love which probably she never experienced in spite of becoming the mother of three of his children. Her hope was that Jacob would love her if she bore him children. We learn two key lessons from Leah's attitude towards her miseries:
1. Leah was PREOCCUPIED with her own miseries.
Believing that God had seen her misery, Leah greeted Reuben’s birth with the words,
“Surely my husband will love me now”
But when it did not happen, she expressed her unfulfilled longings at the birth of Simeon and Levi. The naming of Simeon is accompanied by her comment,
“the Lord has heard I am hated”
Seeing Jacob still not loving her, when Levi was born Leah said,
“Now this time my husband will be attached to me because I have borne him three sons"
Leah felt very miserable when all her efforts to win over Jacob’s love turned futile. Are we currently preoccupied with miseries involving our own family or business or ministry?
2. Leah PRAISED GOD amidst miseries.
Only when her fourth son Judah was born, Leah turned her focus from her own miseries to God and for the first time acknowledged that Yahweh had blessed her. This is what Leah said when Judah was born:
“This time I will praise the Lord”
The name Judah is linked to gratitude and praise. We do not know whether Jacob’s attitude towards Leah changed or not after the birth of Judah. But we can conclude that Leah finally realized the futility of focusing on herself and the need to turn towards God with gratitude. Thus Leah’s mourning heart was turned into a praising heart. Instead of worrying over our own miseries, should we not turn to God with gratitude because of His abundant grace which has sustained us thus far?
“Dear Lord, forgive my human attempts to find solutions to my miseries. Pardon me for being preoccupied with my own problems instead of turning my attention to you and your character. Give me the grace and strength to praise you even in the midst of problems and difficulties. Keeping my eyes on you and with my lips full of praises and thanks to you for sustaining me thus far, I begin this new day.
In Jesus’ name!... Amen.”