Contentment. This has been the theme that the Lord is working out in me over the past weeks, months, years of my life. At times, contentment is so hard for me. What I have been reminded of through the awesomeness of Kelly Minter’s study, No Other Gods is that sometimes discontent is a direct result of jealousy and bitterness. I agree with Kelly in that, “I’m not sure I hate any feeling more than when I’ve overcome with jealousy.” It’s a cycle that I often see in my life, I start to compare myself to those around me, which leads to jealousy, which makes me discontent with who I am and where God has me.
The story of Leah, Rachel and Jacob is one that screams jealousy and discontent. If you haven’t read that story take some time to do so in Genesis 29 and 30. I will try my best to summarize it for you. Jacob loved Rachel and Rachel was beautiful. Jacob worked 7 years in order to marry Rachel. But instead of Rachel, Laban (Rachel’s dad) gave Jacob Leah, who was the older sister. Jacob still desired Rachel and did not love Leah, so he agreed to work another 7 years in order to make Rachel his wife (this shows how much Jacob loved Rachel). As any woman can imagine this type of relationship was hard. Leah knew Jacob loved Rachel more and tried her hardest to make him pay her some sort of attention. Rachel on the other hand, had the love of Jacob but was not able to have children. However, Leah could have children. You can only imagine the jealousy that took place. Leah was jealous of Rachel because Jacob loved her and she was beautiful. Rachel was jealous of Leah because Leah was able to have children. Rachel’s jealousy led her to tell her maidservant to sleep with Jacob in order to provide offspring. Leah’s jealousy led her to barter for a night with her husand in hopes that she would feel loved. The story goes back and forth until the Lord decides to open the womb of Rachel and she has a son named Joseph. At this point, you think, Rachel is going to offer praise to the Lord, she finally has everything she ever longed for (exclusive love of her husband, son she always hoped for and beauty) however we read in Gen. 31:32-35 that this still didn’t satisfy her, as she was stealing household gods and hiding them in her pockets. Rachel was not content, even though she achieved what she thought would make her content.
This amazes me but also reasonates with my soul. I too have been like Rachel, saying to myself when I get ___________ or when I am _________, then I will be happy and content. And at times, like Rachel I did achieve those things I thought would make me happy and they did for a period of time. But those things, those people, they never have and never will satisfy my soul forever like the love and relationship of my Savior. Because those things are fleeting and those people will dissapoint. It may sound cliche and simple, but the Lord is whispering in my ear daily, “But Holli my love for you will never fade away and I will never dissapoint.” Now there have been plenty of times in my life that I have been disappointed but like Kelly Minter said, “Yet when you encounter Him and begin to take Him at His words through obedience, His name doesn’t mean easy answers but power and love and life sustaining freedom.”
Another truth that Kelly stated (ya’ll you have to read her studies!) that I wanted to share is, “The point is that it doesn’t matter if you have it all and get everything your heart desires, or if you are left wanting and unloved. Neither works. The two women had vastly differnt circumstances, yet both were left hungy. Why? Because God was not their ultimate. Good things like husbands and children and social status were the ultimate things, and in the end they were not enough.”
they. were. not. enough. Jesus is enough! I have been challenged to dig deep and ask the Lord to reveal to me those things in my life that I am making the “ultimate” over Him (some may be good things even). I pray that I get those “idols” out of my life so I can be content in the only One who will truly satisfy, by making Him The Ultimate in every aspect of my life.