Millions of books have been sold about how we can find fulfillment. A popular teaching in psychology says that when a person has sufficient food and emotional support in their life, they start searching for self-fulfillment, which is partly a search for purpose. Rachel shows us how desperate that search can be.
We read about Rachel in Genesis 25 to 50. Jacob cheats his brother Esau and flees to go live with his Uncle Laban. Rachel is Laban’s daughter; she is gorgeous; Jacob falls in love with her. Jacob marries Rachel but pays a heavy price for this, including working for her father for 14 years, forced marriage to her older sister Leah, and forced husbandly responsibility for their servant girls Bilhah and Zilpah.
Genesis 30:1 (NIV) says: When Rachel saw that she was not bearing… she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
Sadly, in many cultures, women without children suffer mockery. Leah, who Jacob did not love, was having sons for Jacob; Rachel who Jacob loved deeply, had no child and was miserable. Her husband’s wealth and love was not enough; Rachel was in a desperate search for self-fulfillment. Eventually, she had a son Joseph (Genesis 30), but tragically dies during the birth of the second son (Genesis 35).
Genesis 35:18-19 (NIV) says: “As she breathed her last… she named her son Ben-Oni [son of my trouble]. But his father named him Benjamin [son of my right hand]. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
Rachel’s consuming passion, her trouble, was to have children at any cost. Life can be so challenging in this way. We can have much good things around us, but lack one thing, and we become desperate to have it at any cost.
Lord, help us in our desperation; comfort us when our lack make us feel sad; give us joy when our lack leads to depression; show us the way to fulfillment that does not lead to death, in Jesus name, Amen!