You know you should pay attention when something is in your head repeatedly. For me it has been a hymn that calls us to remember that our God is in control:
This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet!
Whether it has been my Bible study in which we are studying about Rachel and Leah and Rachel’s utter jealousy and anger that she is unable to have children or whether it is my Sunday School class that is looking at discontentment in our lives that arises from an ongoing circumstance that we cannot change, the problem with our heart is that we forget that God is the Ruler of this world. We have to rest on the fact that God is Sovereign and has ordained these things for our life as it is right now.
Rachel’s situation is a true heart breaker. We can relate to wanting something so badly that it hurts. The pain that she feels is not the problem, it is the way she seeks to deal with her pain. Rachel works very hard to “fix” her problem by offering her servant to serve as a substitute for her. She also angrily blames Jacob for giving Leah children and not her. Her good and right desire for children has been elevated to an idol of her heart and she sees all of life through that lens. Jacob reminds her that conception and the bearing of children lie in the will and power of God alone. God fulfills Rachel’s desires later with not just one son, but two and it is without her manipulation.
Jerry Bridges offers this prayer in his book Respectable Sins:
Lord, I am willing to-
Receive what you give,
Lack what you withhold,
Relinquish what you take.
He received this prayer from a friend after the loss of his wife. How can we pray such a prayer when our circumstances overwhelm us? when the difficulty is more than we think we can bear? It is only in light of the fact that our God is infinitely wise and loving and knows what is best for us. We cling to His word and remind ourselves of His character and seek His face.
Romans 8:28- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.
Psalm 139:16- Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days they were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.
He is not surprised by our circumstances and He is working all things for our good- which ultimately means those very circumstances will cause us to look more like him, be more like him and that is our ultimate good.