|William Dyce, The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel|
I’m not sure if it’s just because of the name connection, but I have always felt a kinship with Rachel from the Bible. I find that her story is one to which I can relate.
I remember a time when I was having a particularly hard time at school and my home teachers shared a message, and in the message they quoted the first part of Gen 30:22 “And God remembered Rachel.” Those words hit me with greater force than anything else had up to that point. I needed that reminder that God knew me and knew my name. I mean of all the verses in the scriptures about how the Lord knows his children, they used the one with my name. It was powerful. And I began to study the story of Rachel and have felt a deep connection with her. While her story is brief in the scriptures, I could imagine the life that she led and almost feel what she must have felt.
At the time I was single and longed for being able to get married and have a family. Rachel waited SEVEN years for Jacob. To me, that showed great faith and patience. It helped in the way that I approached life as a “young single adult” and later as a “mid –single adult.” When she finally married Jacob, I imagine that her joy was just as great as mine the day I was married to Jared (Our husbands names are even kind of similar!)
Now, I find another connection. Something that I never wanted to feel. Something that breaks my heart just as surely as it broke hers. Rachel called this her “Reproach.” Mine has the name of PCOS. I found out a few months ago that I have PCOS, and this makes it more difficult to get pregnant. We had been trying to get pregnant for about 7 months prior to this diagnosis. I have been taking meds and getting shots for the past couple months in hopes to have a child. So far the results have been negative. Every time I get that negative, my heart breaks. I am constantly surrounded by people who either have babies or are pregnant. Sometimes I feel like Rachel. “And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.” I know that sounds dramatic “or else I die.” That’s what I thought when I read that years ago. But honestly, that’s what it feels like…like a little piece of me has died. Or a big piece.
Rachel’s life does give me hope. I see how she dealt with her pain and hope that I can cope as she did. While I will NOT be giving Jared another wife, I will, like Rachel try to find joy in the children around me. I get to teach some awesome young kids in primary. And still have a fun interaction with some of the kids I used to watch in Nursery. And I will try to find patience through this trial. I’ll probably fail from time to time. Or a lot. But I will continue to try. It doesn't say how many years Rachel waited to have Joseph, her oldest son. But with all the children born to Jacob, I can imagine it was several years. I imagine she lost hope and patience from time to time. But in the end her patience and her faith was rewarded.
As I was dealing with yet another disappointing day today, I reread the scripture that hit me so hard all those years ago. But I read the whole verse and the next one as well: “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach.”
As I try to navigate through this trial, I try to remember that God knows me by name. And hope to have the faith that at some point, in some way, God will “hearken” to my prayers. Rachel’s story has always been an inspiration to me. And now, it’s what is giving me hope.