I don’t want to be a Rachel.
Remember this story? Rachel was the one Jacob loved; he was more dedicated to her than to Leah, but this was not enough for Rachel. She said to Jacob in Genesis chapter 29, verse 1 “Give me children, or else I die.” Her only focus appeared to be about having children. It seemed as if she did not believe she had any worth unless she was able to give her husband offspring. Even though Jacob made it clear to her that his love for her was not dependent on her ability to have children, she was not comforted by that fact.
Rachel devised a plan, she decided to ask for the mandrakes Reuben brought for his mother, Leah. Mandrakes have lots of uses, such as: treating stomach ulcers, colic, constipation, fevers, arthritis, whooping cough and more, but Rachel, we can presume, probably wanted the mandrakes for the fertility uses.
Leah was not about to just give up her mandrakes to Rachel, because she knew Jacob loved her more. Leah felt that the more children she bore for Jacob the more he would love her, but these two women failed to realize that Jacob’s love was not based on those conditions. Nevertheless, Leah gave up the mandrakes for an extra night with Jacob and unfortunately for Rachel, Leah got pregnant again, three times, and had 3 more children for Jacob.
Finally, Rachel got her break and had a son for Jacob. But instead of being thankful for conceiving and having a safe delivery, Rachel’s next response was that God will surely grant her another son. This is why she named her son Joseph, meaning ‘the Lord will add’ (Family Education). We can contrast this to Hannah, who prayed for a son and then named him Samuel -meaning God heard. We see the difference in these two women, one of gratitude and one of dissatisfaction. Rachael wanted to compete with her rival Leah, her longing for a son was not of the right motive. We see later down when she was granted another son, it resulted in her death.
Forgetting to be grateful
Too often in my life, I realize that I am Rachel. I pray for a breakthrough and when God starts to work it out, I ask “What’s next?”, or “Where is the rest of the blessing?” All too often I forget to be grateful for what God has already done in my life. Too often I forget to be thankful when I see even small parts of my desire coming to past. I remember the story of Elijah and his servant when there was drought on the land and Elijah prayed for rain in 1 Kings chapter 18. When the servant saw a cloud, as small as a man’s hand he reported this to Elijah, and without waiting Elijah sent news to Ahab that rain was coming. He didn’t see the rain, but he believed it would rain based on a small glimpse of his prayer being answered. Have you ever seen only a fraction of your miracle? Do you rejoice just then, or do you ask God where are the rest of the storm clouds?
Paul said in Philippians chapter 4, verse 12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” The secret to life and happiness, is learning to be content in every situation. If we have an abundance, or we have a little, we need to learn to be satisfied. Once we recognize that God is our source and the material things cannot and will never be the source of joy, then contentment comes easier.
This is why I don’t want to be a Rachel. I want to be grateful at every stage of my life. I want to always have a heart of thanksgiving, whether God answers my prayers or not, I want to rejoice in Him, nonetheless. My aim is to live out the verse that says “In everything, give thanks” (1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 18).
Ashea West is a third-year medical student from Manchester, Jamaica studying in the USA. I am passionate about sharing the gospel, using whatever opportunities I am given. I do believe in blooming wherever I am transplanted.