When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” – Genesis 29:31-32
There is nothing quite so heartbreaking as watching your child’s heart break. It doesn’t really matter how it happens, it is just so hard to watch. The brokenness of this world breaks our sons and daughters and we can’t really do anything to stop it from happening. But we can be the ones to point them back to love.
God is a mender of hearts, a healer of souls. He watches His children with compassion and mercy and is moved to bring wholeness and health to their lives. He desires the best for them and puts opportunity and hope within their reach. He does not force His help on them or so sedate and anesthetize them that they cannot feel the hurt incurred in this life. He opens doors and invites His children to come into His peace and blessing. He is the perfect Father.
God does not expect us to be Him, but He does call us to be like Him. We cannot make choices for our children and we certainly cannot protect them from the world, but we can be the ones that meet them with compassion and mercy in their wounded moments. We can pray for healing and wholeness in their lives. We can speak honestly with them about the hurt and pain of life in a broken world, always seasoned with words of hope and love. We can offer them the safe place of a father’s love and hold them tightly against the storms life brings.
God presented an opportunity to Leah to receive His love, but she still saw it as an opportunity to compete for the love of Jacob and the shame of Rachel. Instead of offering songs of praise, she determines to pull Jacob away from her marital competition. She missed the open door. She remained in her brokenness. This is the hard reality of fatherhood – we can do everything right, but our children can still make bad choices. However, if we are to be fathers like our heavenly Father, we must persist in loving our children.
Lord, help us to be a safe place for our children. Help us to find ways that lead them to You in times of trouble. Make us more and more like you every day and give us all we need to minister to our children. Amen.