“If Only…”

I have been studying the story of Rachel and Leah, two sisters from the book of Genesis.  Each desperately wanted what the other one had.  They were both married to Jacob, however, Rachel is the one who had his heart, “he loved Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30).  Leah wanted to be loved by Jacob, like Rachel was, and Rachel wanted to have children, as Leah had.

“Now when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He made her able to bear children, but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29: 31).

“Leah conceived and gave birth to a son and named him Reuben (See, a son!) for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my suffering; NOW my husband will love me [since I gave him a son]” (Genesis 29: 32).

But Jacob still did not love Leah.  She goes on to bear 6 sons total, longing for Jacob’s love, all the while Rachel is longing for a child.

“When Rachel saw that she conceived no children for Jacob, she envied her sister, and said to Jacob, ‘Give me children or else I will die!’ ” (Genesis 30:1).

This rivalry caused bitterness and resentment in each sister, but what stands out to me is that each had an “If only” mentality.  Leah’s mentality was, “if only my husband loved me THEN I would be happy”, and Rachel’s mentality was, “if only I could bear children THEN I would be happy”.  Please hear my heart and know that I am not being insensitive to infertility, marriage issues, or ANY struggle someone may be facing.  Everyone has burdens to carry and we all go through challenges and struggles.  God wants us to bring Him the deep desires of our hearts and our longings.  Whatever you long for, take that desire to God.  You see, God already knows the desires of your heart, “Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I stand up; you understand my thoughts from far away” (Psalm 139: 1-2).  But we have to be careful not to develop “if only” mentality.  If only (fill in the blank) THEN I will be happy.

If only I didn’t deal with anxiety…

If only I looked a certain way…

If only I had more money…

If only my life were different…

If only I could get through this one situation…

If only my circumstances were different…

When we become consumed with our “if only”, it can replace what should be the number one desire of our heart, and that is to be close to Jesus.  “He said to him, “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and most important command” (Matthew 22: 37-38).  Intimacy with God should be our first and foremost longing.  Don’t allow what you don’t have to drive a wedge between you and the Author of your soul.

Two things that help me combat “if only” thinking is to make a list of blessings God has already given me.  When I look around and look back through my prayer journals, God has done so much for me!  I also remember scripture, particularly Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have what I need” (CSB).  I love that translation!!  I have what I need in the Lord!

I also want to encourage you to have hope.  Hope that a better future awaits, knowing that God hears you and will never forsake you.  God did, indeed, listen to Rachel and Leah.  “When the Lord SAW that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb” (Genesis 29:31), and “God listened to Leah” (Genesis 30: 17), “Then God remembered Rachel.  He listened to her and opened her womb” (Genesis 30:22).  God always has His eye on His beloved children, and He does listen to us!

“For the Lord will not reject us forever.  Even if he causes suffering, he will show compassion according to the abundance of his faithful love.  For he does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind” (Lamentations 3: 31-33).

“You will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29: 12-13).

Friends, I hope this has encouraged you to open up to God and take your heart’s desire to Him.  He does’t want you to be distant and grow bitter over an “if only”.  If you want to learn more about Rachel and Leah, check out the Bible study below.  Thank you for taking the time to read this!!  Leave a comment if this helped you, or let me know how I can pray for you!!

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Rachel and Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us about Comparison Bible Study by Nicki Koziarz.

22 thoughts on ““If Only…”

  1. I needed to read this today! It is clear to me that God speaks to us, at times, through other people. I’m currently not in a bible study nor do I read scripture as often as I should. I’m trying to think of ways to motivate myself to read. Your devotions are one avenue I’ve chosen. Thank you for using your personal time & gifts to help others!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is such a great topic. I never thought of Rachel and Leah from this perspective. I constantly get caught in the “if only” battle. I actually never thought to take it to God in my grown up years as I thought He may consider it an insult. Like I’m trying to convince Him that He has made a mistake of some sort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point! I think the hardest part about taking things to God for me is being willing to say, “even if you don’t give me what I’m asking for I know you are still good”. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!! 😃

      Like

  3. Sounds like a lot of us needed to hear what you were obviously inspired by God to write. Thanks, Crystal, for listening to Him and then blessing us!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was very helpful Crystal. I have been guilty many times of having an “if only” attitude. But God is teaching me to be thankful always and trust Him to give me what I need. He even promises to grant us our hearts desires when we delight in Him. Great post! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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