“And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”” (Genesis 29:32, ESV)
The story of Leah is heart-wrenching.
From the beginning, she is the one who is overlooked. She is not much to look at and never catches Jacob's eye. Yet, through her father's trickery, she is wed to Jacob all the same. No matter what she does, she is never enough, her accomplishments are never good enough. She remains the overlooked and unworthy one.
In her sorrow, she sees her first sons as God's mercies in light of her poor standing. With her first, she thinks, "Maybe Jacob will finally love me," with her second (the first not accomplishing what she hoped), she thinks, "God gives me children because he sees that I am hated."
What a bitter existence she lived. She barters for love and standing and always comes up empty. This is the love of the world. Always conditional and so often elusive.
But the love of God isn't like that. God doesn't ask us to prove our worth because he knows we couldn't. God doesn't ask us to buy his affections because he knows we have nothing to buy with.
In Christ, God took the unworthy and made them worthy. In Christ, he poured out love on the unlovely.
The overlooked ones no longer, behold the children God has loved.