Rachel was in love. At least, that’s what I infer from the biblical text. We read that Jacob loved Rachel and that he worked seven years for the right to marry her, “and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her” (Genesis 29:20).
But after her father tricked Jacob into also marrying her older sister, Leah, Rachel’s life took a turn for the worse. Leah became a mother, giving birth to four sons, while Rachel remained childless (Genesis 29:32–35). The author of Genesis attributes this to God having pity on Leah, since Jacob favored Rachel (Genesis 29:31). But from Rachel’s perspective, the situation was extremely frustrating: “Give me children,” she said to Jacob, “or else I die” (Genesis 30:1).
More time passed. Like her mother-in-law Rebecca, and like her grandmother-in-law Sarah, Rachel felt the sorrow of not having children of her own. (See Genesis 16:1, Genesis 25:21.) Then, one day, the record tells us, “God remembered Rachel” (Genesis 30:22). Her son Joseph was born, and subsequently another son named Benjamin.
Didn’t God remember Rachel before? Of course He did, but she felt forgotten, as she was denied the blessing she wanted more than anything else.
“The Lord seeth fit to chasten his people,” wrote Mormon; “yea, he trieth their patience and their faith” (Mosiah 23:21). When blessings are denied us or when we encounter adversity, it’s easy to feel forgotten and forsaken.
But as Elder Spencer J. Condie has assured us, “Just as God remembered Rachel, God will remember you” (“Claim the Exceeding Great and Precious Promises,” General Conference, October 2007). Waiting is hard, but waiting with trust in God is an ennobling and sanctifying process.
Today, I will remember Rachel’s experience as I strive for greater patience and faith. The blessings I want now may very well be in my future. God has not forgotten me, but for my own spiritual development, He may have chosen to defer those blessings for a time. I will trust that, like Rachel, I will one day receive the blessings I seek.