Special Thanks The Hutchinson News for Publishing this article in February of 2012.
Welcome to the season of love!
February is the time for heart-shaped cards, cheesy pickup lines, stale candy and crowded restaurants filled with dating dreams.
Yet, far too often “love” leaves us anything but happy. We’re a culture of the depressed, detached and desperate.
I remember Sunday School teaching that we are supposed to love with “JOY” – JESUS first, OTHERS second, YOURSELF last.
So if we got the order right, we’d be all right.
So, how’s that working out for you?
Maybe the key to love isn’t putting God first.
Maybe it’s loving Him, only.
Genesis 29 contains one of the saddest love stories in human history. Let me compress the background for you:
* Jacob loved Rachel.
* Rachel loved Jacob.
* Leah was Rachel’s not-so-pretty older sister.
* Laban (Rachel and Leah’s dad) tricked Jacob into marrying Leah.
* Jacob decided to put up with his unwanted bride if he could marry her sister, too.
So here’s the love triangle: two sisters married to the same man, but the man only loves one of them. We’ve got more drama here than a high school cafeteria!
Leah was unloved, yet love is what she wanted more than anything else.
But God loved her. He loved her more than she could understand.
“When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son.”
From heaven above, God shouted down to Leah “I love you!” and blessed her with a child.
Unfortunately, her response shows that she is still looking for love in the all the wrong places (thank you, Waylon Jennings).
“The Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”
Obviously, the love of her God was not enough. She wouldn’t feel significant until she had this man’s love.
God sent another love note in the form of child No. 2: “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son, also.”
You can almost hear her sigh of relief. She thought Jacob missed the first one, but he can’t miss a second crying baby.
He missed it, and Leah became even more desperate.
God shouted from heaven with a third child: “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”
Her addiction for this man’s love blinded her to the outstretched arms of the God who truly loved her.
But then came a fourth child.
Somewhere between the wailing of her three boys and the anticipation of the fourth’s birth, Leah had a revelation:
She discovered she’d been chasing the wrong thing, that jerk might never love her, butGod loved her all along.
Leah gave birth to a fourth son and named him Judah: “This time I will praise the Lord.”
We don’t need to love God first – we need to love Him only. Then, through the love of God in our lives, we can love a spouse, children, a calling or a cause the way they should be loved.
This time, let’s love the Lord.