It’s a beautiful day. I am just giving God thanks. When people see me and ask, “How are you?” I will often answer, “Fabulous.” It’s not because I feel that everything is perfect in my life, but just because…I know God is still on the throne. And as long as He doesn’t come down from His throne, everything is going to be A-ok. Praise the Lord!
As I thought about Rachel, I realized that much of Rachel’s adult life seemed to be marred by sibling rivalry. The bond of sisters is a beautiful thing, but rivalry gone wrong can add an unhealthy dimension, that threatens to weave a strand of discord into the strongest of families.
The Bible tells us that Rachel was the pretty one, in so many words. Jacob fell in love with her and agreed to work seven years for her father, in order to marry her. Still, as the younger sister of Leah, Rachel found herself in the midst of a rivalry with her big sister. Instead of being happy for her sister birthing children, she was jealous. She turned childbearing into a competition that eventually took her life.
There can be a healthy kind of rivalry. Venus and Serena Williams are sisters that have also held World No. 1 ranking, as professional tennis players. Though they love each other and have a great relationship, they definitely have a friendly rivalry on the tennis court. They know each other and each other’s game so well, it requires a unique strategy when they prepare to compete against each other. I imagine that there is a lot of mental maneuvering to do when you compete on a world stage against someone that you’ve loved all of your life.
Rachel’s rivalry with Leah was different. It was rooted in jealousy. I wonder if their rivalry actually began several years before they married Jacob, as little girls vying for the attention of Laban and his wife.
I could see this happening after briefly attending to six-month old twin girls. They’d sat patiently in their car seat attached to their stroller as I talked to their mother. Baby “A” cried and received a bottle. Seeing Baby “B” beginning to squirm, I picked her up and played with her for a bit. Then I returned her to her seat and gave her a bottle. By that time, Baby “A” began to whimper a bit, so I decided to give her a turn at play. As soon as Baby “B” saw us, she started crying, as if I should be holding her again. I think this could be the beginning of sibling rivalry, hopefully a healthy one.
So what are you to do when you’ve got so much going for you, but you are still longing for that one thing that you feel will make life complete? Do you rarely acknowledge the good things you do have in your life? Do you find yourself obsessed with something you don’t have?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” -Proverbs 13:12
Talk to God about it. Let him know how you’re feeling. Ask him to help you let go of any jealousy, so you can clearly hear him speaking to you. Pray for the person that you feel is your rival.
Entrust your desires to God. He has your best interest in mind.
“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.” -Psalms 37:5
Don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Life is short and time is valuable. Tommy Barnett said there’s no time for self-pity. There are too many people who need help. He told one lady to go home, bake some cookies and give them out at a nursing home. She reluctantly took his advice and later said she canceled her nervous breakdown.
Start today. Be grateful. Count your blessings. Name them one by one.
Read more on Rachel with us on our “Learning from Their Examples” series
Cassandra Woods is an inspirational writer and speaker who has seen God’s word become real in her own life. She finds great joy in sharing God’s love with other women and encouraging them to develop an intimate relationship with God. Cassandra is married to Christopher and is the mother of a teenager and three young adults. To read more about her, click here.