They left Bethel. They were still quite a ways from Ephrath when Rachel went into labor—hard, hard labor. When her labor pains were at their worst, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid—you have another boy.”

18 With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Benjamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune). (Genesis 35:16-18)

Fear Not

(16/365 days of Fear Not)

Have you ever wondered if fear is a matter of perspective? It’s not something I considered, until I read this passage as if for the first time, through new eyes and with a new understanding.

First, there is Rachel, going into hard, hard labor and I picture her writhing in pain, trying to catch her breath, longing for reprieve. And in the midst of this, her midwife says, Don’t be afraid – you have another boy.

I cannot say how comforting these words would have been to Rachel in her pain, in this moment. But there as a mother, I can imagine the sense of relief knowing that the baby is okay.

And can you hear the soft, assuring tone of the midwife as she speaks these words, Don’t be afraid?

Whether Rachel knew she was dying  or not, clearly she was experiencing excruciating pain and may even have been fading in and out of the reality of her circumstances. And her midwife tells her in effect, It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.

And then there is her last breath; she names this boy – Son of My Pain. She has endured all she can and she is dying. In her pain, in her dying, she names this son after her pain. But her husband, the boy’s father? He names the boy to reflect a deep sense of gratitude: he has lost his wife, but he has gained a son. He has not lost them both and therefore, he counts himself blessed. He names the boy, Son of Good Fortune.

Jacob loved Rachel and he mourned her death deeply.

But he celebrated the birth of his son as a blessing, and called him by a name that would remind him of that Good Fortune.

Do you need to change how you are looking at your circumstances today?

Is there a blessing hidden in them that you might not have noticed with your first look?

If there is something weighing heavily on you today, God’s words apply as much today as they did then: Don’t be afraid.

God can redeem our circumstances. He stands at the ready, waiting to hear your voice call out to Him.


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