The 4th line of our challenging prayer reads: I am willing to lack what You withhold. I don’t like being in a state of not having enough of something or being without. It has been common knowledge that my greatest lack the past six months was a home of my own. Now, that need has been supplied and yet I still lack the finances I’d like to fix it up to my tastes. I lack a flesh and blood daughter. I lack time with my sons. I lack time with close friends and family. At times, I lack love from my spouse. There have been periods of my life when my lacks have been so intense I thought I couldn’t handle another day.When I need to realign my perspective on this subject, I turn to two women in the Bible who struggled with the lack God withheld from them. In Genesis 29–30, Laban’s two daughters are introduced. Leah was the oldest daughter. She had weak eyes–perhaps she was delicate or not attractive. Rachel, the younger daughter, was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and agreed to work seven years to win her as his wife. When Jacob woke after his wedding night, he found Leah in his bed!
Now, we turn to Rachel. She had her husband’s love but she, like Leah, was unhappy. She had no children and her sister was having babies (boys, no less) left and right. She had what her sister wanted, and her sister had what she wanted. Rachel tried to fulfill her lack by blaming Jacob, crying and whining to him “Give me children or I’ll die”. She expected him to be able to meet this need. When he could not, she took matters into her own hands and gave her servant to her husband and adopted the resultant child as her own.
Next we see that Leah’s desires were still not met even after having six sons (counting her servant’s sons). It seems that Leah’s sexual privileges were withheld from her. Another lack. She accused her sister, “You took away my husband”. And so she “hired” Jacob in exchange for some mandrake plants. What a lovely arrangement these two women had!
This time, Leah had two more sons. Issachar, after whose birth she said, “God has rewarded me for giving my maidservant to my husband” and Zebulun, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” It strikes me as sad that after all this time, all she wanted from her husband now was some honor and respect.
Finally, God gave Rachel what she had longed, manipulated and schemed for. Joseph was born from her own womb. “God has taken away my disgrace. May the Lord add to me another son,” were her words. Isn’t it interesting how each sister had what the other wanted and yet each was still unhappy and unsatisfied? No matter what the lack was, they were both in pain and jealous of the other. Rachel blamed her husband and Leah blamed Rachel. They both took matters into their own hands and tried various methods for fulfilling their lack. And when God was gracious and gave Rachel what she wanted, it was not enough. Desires are like that. They are insatiable. Even when we get what we lack, we want more.
- The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Ps 23:1
- Call on the Lord, fear him, cry to him and He will satisfy our desires. Ps 145:16-19
- God knows what we need before we ask him. Matt 6:8
- Ask and you shall receive. Jn 16:24
- He will graciously give us all things. Rom 8:32
- God will give you strength to be content in all circumstances. Phil 4:11-13
- God will make all grace abound so that we will have all that we need. 2 Cor 9:8
- God will meet all our needs according to his riches. Phil 4:19
- God’s power gives us everything we need. 2 Pet 1:3