After the But

Leah is one of the most unappreciated heroines in the Bible. Her husband Jacob never intended to marry her—he was tricked into it by her scheming father. Jacob wanted Leah's sister, Rachel, and he married her just one week later.

Leah is a great example of coming to terms with God in the midst of our struggles. For years she tried to get Jacob to love her. That was the focus of her life, and she named her first three children accordingly (see Genesis 29:31-35).

 But then something changed. After eight long years in a loveless marriage, her fourth son, Judah, was born and she said, “This time I will praise the Lord” (Genesis 29:35). No longer is Leah fixated on what she lacks in her life. She isn't trying to get Jacob to change anymore. Instead, her focus is on the Lord and his love and favor for her. Her troubles have led her to a place where she looks to God to meet her needs, and can receive his love and mercy with joy and thankfulness. I'm sure Leah still struggled—her situation probably never changed very much. But she came to the point where the dominant thing in her life was not her struggle or unfilled needs, but God's awesome love for her.

I call this “living after the but.” For years Leah's attitude was, “I know God loves me, but my husband doesn't.” Then, at some point she changed what she put after the “but.” Her attitude became, “I know my husband doesn't love me, but God does.”

Whatever it is that we put after the “but” is what holds the most power in our lives. God is inviting you to put Him after the but. “I know economic times are tough, but God is my provider.” I know I keep failing and sinning, but God forgives me.” “I know my marriage is in shambles, but God can heal me and my marriage.” Reality may or may not change for us, but when the dominant thing in life becomes God and His amazing love for us, then regardless of what is happening on the outside, we can remain strong and at peace within. Follow Leah's example. Put God after the but.

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