Any of us can be tempted by discontentment. Just ask Leah, one of the many women in the Bible. She is a very needy woman who puts her sense of worth into her husband's hands. From the very beginning, she is considered the inferior sister to her favored younger and beautiful sister, Rachel. Thus jealousy, envy, and discontent are born in Leah's heart.
Maybe she fantasizes how having a husband would propel her to a better status and make her feel loved. And as the older sister, society said she should have married first. But the stranger, Jacob, falls in love with the younger, Rachel. Her father, Laban, pulls his tricks substituting Leah when Jacob is expecting Rachel to be there on his wedding night.
We can only imagine how Leah felt as Jacob wakes up in the morning and discovers a much-less pretty wife than Rachel. In fact, Genesis 29:25 says, "And in the morning, behold, it was Leah!"
And then Jacob angrily tells Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?"
Did Leah's heart sink in disappointment? Maybe she thought she had really pleased him on their wedding night and Jacob's heart would be bonded to her.
How would you have felt if you had overheard your new husband say that to your father? My heart would have sunk to my toes. I would have felt even more terrible about myself.
Our hearts hurt for Leah and we can understand her discontentment. She continues to seek peace through trying to force her husband to love and favor her through having his children--which is highly valued in their society. Her sense of value and lovability is definitely held by her husband.
Tweet that: "Her sense of value and lovability is definitely held by her husband."
I understand Leah's feelings and her belief that her happiness was determined by whether her husband loved her. I felt the same way years ago when Larry and I had been married for seven years. He worked 2 full time jobs and also flew a plane for a hobby. I felt left out and justified in being angry and discontent.
But then God convinced me I could be content and joyful regardless whether Larry treated me well. God loved me and could provide the sense of worth and value like no person ever could.
Tweet that: "God loved me and could provide the sense of worth and value like no person ever could."
Surprisingly, the more content I became in God's provision of emotional strength, the less angry and hateful I became toward Larry, and the more he was drawn to me. As a result, our marriage was healed and now we've been married 46 1/2 years. Wow!
Did you know that Leah finally did come to peace. Genesis 29:35 says, "And she [Leah] conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'This time I will praise the Lord.' Therefore she called his name Judah."
Commentators believe this indicates her trust in God and being at peace.
I can tell you without a doubt how good it is to feel that kind of peace. Although Larry was willing and wanted to respond to my decrease in anger, bitterness, and nagging, we may not always receive the results we want. But what better result could there be than experiencing God's gift of peace and contentment.
If you are discontent because your needs aren't met by someone else, consider giving up expecting that person to be responsible for your contentment and happiness. You'll have God to thank!
(This is an adapted excerpt from my women's Bible study book Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series.)