“…thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.” – Song of Solomon 8:10.
There is a popular Bible story that I think illustrates contentment in a less than an ideal situation. It is the story of Leah. Her story starts in Genesis 29. Jacob’s uncle, Laban, had two daughters. Leah, the eldest, had eyes that were “delicate.” Rachel, with whom Jacob fell in love, was Laban’s younger daughter; and she “was beautiful of form and appearance” (Genesis 29:16-17).
Jacob made an agreement to serve Laban seven years for the opportunity to marry Rachel. Laban deceptively gave Leah, instead of Rachel, to Jacob. When this switch was discovered, Jacob was of course a little irritated. Laban said it was customary to give the older daughter away in marriage first. So, in order to have Rachel for his wife, Jacob had to give Laban seven more years of service (Genesis 29:26-27).
This cruel deception was her father’s idea, and her new husband, Jacob, clearly “loved Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30). Meanwhile Leah was married to a man who didn’t choose her, love her, or want her. But in fact she was loved and her plight did not go unnoticed. Genesis 29:31 tells us: “When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, …” God noticed Leah, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31). The Lord showed Leah she had value in her society and was indeed loved—if not by her father or by Jacob, then surely by her heavenly Father.
Leah gave birth to three sons in a row, hoping she would win Jacob’s love: “Now at last my husband will become attached to me” (Genesis 29:34). But after the birth of each son, not a word was heard from Jacob. Then came a turning point. Three times she’d turned to a man for love. This time she turned to God. “When she gave birth to a son she said, “…”This time I will praise the LORD.” (Genesis 29:35).
At last, on her fourth son, Leah realizes an eternal truth; nothing and no one but God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. People will always let us down; God never will. So we must praise Him, for that is where our contentment and fulfillment may be found. Leah found it. God loved her. She could not control Jacob’s heart. And she learned that even her children could not replace that longing for Jacob’s love. But in praising the Lord, she learned to be content in whatever state she found herself.
Your spouse may not be perfect, or even all you wanted, but God is. Can you praise God and find contentment in Him? Because really He is what you are looking for. You can find contentment in your marriage, your children, and your life if you look to God to sit on the throne of your heart.
- Discuss some of the values of a lengthy and close acquaintance before marriage. How can couples who married without it now compensate for it?
- What can we learn from Leah? What would you have done in her situation?
- How did Leah eventually find contentment?
- Pray and ask God that you find contentment and trust in Him?