Jake was tired of traveling. He had been on the road for days. He was tired of his legs being cramped up in his tiny Honda, the buzzing sound of the air conditioner, and the musty smell of his car's mushy seat cushions. More than any of that, he was tired of running. The memory of the falling out he had just experienced with his family was still fresh in his mind. He never intended on swindling his twin brother out of all of his inheritance money... it just sort of happened. Everyone knew that Jake was the favorite twin, the "goody-goody". His brother Edom was always away from home, training hard and competing as a wrestler. Edom was rowdy, dirty, and crude in Jake's opinion. His mother thought so too and that is why when Edom and Jake's father passed away, somehow Edom's inheritance found it's way into Jake's bank account. Deep down Jake knew this was wrong... but he was trying every day to push the negative thoughts out of his mind. How could he admit to himself that he was a cheater and a thief? That didn't match his usual obedient temperament.
Edom had a temper, and Jake was well aware of this characteristic about his sibling. That is why when those six figures appeared in Jake's account, Jake disappeared from his hometown. Too afraid to face his bother and the danger that would entail, he hightailed it out of there in the middle of the night. He didn't have any plans but life as a gypsy was a better alternative to being murdered by his angsty twin!
Jake pulled off the highway and took an exit which boasted several fast-food chain restaurants. Parking on the asphalt outside of McDonalds, he removed his key from the ignition and stretched his long legs out of the vehicle. He ran a hand through his thick wavy black hair with a sigh. Emerging from the driver's seat he reached his full height of 6'1. Do I want fries or chicken nuggets? He pondered. Looking over idly at the entrance of the restaurant, he noticed a group of preschool students exiting with their happy meals in hand and tiny grins on their faces.
That is when he saw her.
A tall, slender, confident young woman came out the door holding a clipboard, herding the tiny tots towards a school bus parked behind the facility. It was evident to him that she was the preschool teacher, but he thought she should really be a model instead. Her long wavy brown hair danced down her back as she looked around counting the children. Her light blue T-shirt brought out the blue in her eyes. She was by far the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He couldn't stop staring at her. He didn't even notice her assistant teacher also come out the door. Gone were the thoughts of fries and chicken nuggets... he had to talk to her.
Before he could really come up with the words to say, he was standing in front of her next to the school bus. She looked up at him and gasped, "Jake? Is that you?"
She knows my name!
She laughed at the shocked look on his face. He thought her voice was as beautiful as her face.
"Don't you remember me? Family camp at Pine Woods? Our moms were such good friends! Look Lulu, it's Jake!" the gorgeous girl motioned to her assistant, who Jake now realized was her sister. Lulu also had brown hair, but it was thinner and straighter. Her blue eyes were hidden behind thick glasses and she lacked the confident air that her sister's presence brought. She shyly smiled at Jake.
"What are you doing tonight for dinner? Are you staying here in town? I know our parents would just love to see you."
Jake finally found his voice, "Uh, yeah wow this is crazy. I'm not really staying anywhere yet but I would love to come to dinner."
The young teacher took out her smartphone and handed it to Jake expectantly, "Here, put your number in my phone and I can text you the details."Jake hurriedly submitted his contact info, said goodbye to the sisters, and returned to his car in a daze. As the preschool bus drove away his phone buzzed. The screen showed a text message which read, hey this is Shelley :).
That night, Jake made his way up the long driveway of a beautiful three-story home. Meticulously cared for hedges and shrubs lined the entrance of the mansion. Jake could hear a fountain trickling somewhere in the distance. He hoped his button-down shirt didn't look too wrinkled. He wondered what Shelley would be wearing... he didn't have to wait long as she opened the door when he knocked.
"Hi, Jake." She beamed at him blushing. She was perfect. Her long hair now delicately curled made her somehow look even more beautiful than before. her lace blouse and form-fitting black pants replicated something out of Vogue. Her heels made her taller, but not too tall. Jake was smitten. The two stared into each other's eyes.
"Well don't just leave him out there in the cold!" A booming voice bellowed from inside the large home. Shelley's father appeared behind her. "Jake! Come here, my boy!"
Before he knew what was happening, Jake had been wrapped up into a big bear hug and practically dragged inside.
Shelley's father, sister Lulu, and mother all joined Jake at the dinner table that evening. They reminisced about their many visits to Pine Woods. Shelley's mother asked about Jake's family. Without giving too many details, Jake explained that he had been forced to move away. Shelley's eyes grew wide when Jake admitted he had nowhere to live. She turned to her father who was sitting next to her and whispered something in his ear. The large man leaned over as he chewed his bite of sweet potato casserole. His face looked thoughtful for a moment, and then he straightened up.
"Jake, how would you like to stay with us for a while?" He offered. Jake didn't know what to say. He looked at Shelley. She smiled at him, their eyes meeting again.
"That is a very gracious offer sir but I would need something to contribute. I could never expect to just take advantage of you like that." Jake was still looking at Shelley.
Shelley's father let out a hearty chuckle, "Well, how about you come to work for the family business? As you know Shelley and Lulu work at a childcare center here in town. It just so happens that I own that facility along with seven others like it. I could really use someone out in the field who could manage my affairs and visit each location... you know, make sure everything is up to code. If I remember correctly, you were a talented student. You can put those brains to work for me!" The burly man took another bite of food, staring intently at Jake.
I would do anything to just be here with her. Tearing his eyes away from Shelley he excitedly accepted her father's offer. The whole family voiced their approval and happily welcomed him to the area. Shelley's mom gave him a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek, "I will have one of the guest rooms made up for you." she promised. Jake didn't notice the light beaming in Lulu's eyes at the decision that he would stay.
As Jake settled into his new home, he had no idea that his work for the family company would grow from weeks to months to years. The days flew by for him because he was so focused on Shelley. The weekends were filled with concerts, movie dates, pizza, and late-night walks together. It was no secret that the two were smitten- everyone in the neighborhood knew. When Jake had to go out of town for business, flowers would often show up at Shelley's doorstep. They were accompanied by long, handwritten love letters penned from the depths of Jake's soul. For seven whole years, Jake worked and nurtured his love for Shelley, until finally, he approached her father for his blessing to marry her.
"So you want to marry Shelley." her father inquired as he poured Jake a glass of scotch. Jake was not the type of person to drink, but he decided to accept it. He didn't notice the white pill that was also added to the beverage.
"Yes," Jake stated plainly, "I love her. I am in love with her. Honestly, I've loved your daughter from the moment I saw her. It sounds cheesy but it's true. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me."
The older gentleman thought about this for a moment, watching Jake sip his drink. He had known this day would come, but he had an agenda of his own. He knew it was his love for Shelley that motivated Jake to work so hard. If he allowed Jake to marry Shelley, what would be left to motivate him? It could easily disrupt the wonderful work relationship he had with him. For seven years his business had flourished. He wasn't ready to give that up.
"Well, what about Lulu?" the father inquired.
Jake gulped his drink, "Lulu?"
"Yes, she is my eldest daughter... she is in love with you."
"What? Why? What have I ever done to encourage that?" Jake was shocked.
The other man crossed his arms and shrugged, "I don't know, but have you ever considered that maybe you have feelings for her instead of Shelley? Perhaps you are confused."
Jake's mind felt fuzzy. He looked down at the glass in his hand. Was he holding one glass or two?
"I think you should really reconsider this matter. I think you should start spending some more time with Lulu, the girl you secretly have feelings for. We all see it. Everyone in town wonders why you waste so much time with Shelley when you obviously love her sister more. Here, let me call Lulu in."
Jake tried to make sense of such a strange suggestion. Lulu was a nice girl, but she was hardly someone he noticed in a crowd. She rarely spoke to him because she was so shy and she often missed days of work because her health was poor. He had never for a moment questioned his love for Shelley. How come he felt so strange now? His vision began to blur as a Lulu shaped form entered the room.
"The two of you make such a nice looking couple." He heard someone say, "The more I think about it, the more I think this is the best match for you Jake. Lulu, can you believe it? Jake came here to ask me if he could marry you. Honestly, why should we waste any more time? Let's go get this matter settled right now at the county courthouse!"
Jake felt himself being brought to his feet and escorted towards the door, with Lulu by his side. What happened next was all a blur. He thought that surely he was dreaming as he obtained a marriage license, stood before a judge, and kissed Lulu as his bride. He thought he was imagining it as the couple was driven back to her parent's house and given a room together. Her hands felt fragile and cold as she helped him take off his shirt and reached for his belt. He really couldn't remember what happened after that.
The next morning sunlight poured into the room. Jake rolled over and stretched, his arm brushing the woman in the bed next to him. Startled, he sat up to get a better look. It was Lulu! The recollection of the night before was so hazy. Frantically, Jake jumped out of the bed, noticing that his head was throbbing. Lulu woke up from the sudden movement. She sat up and reached for her glasses on the bedstand next to her.
"Good morning, my husband." She said sweetly.
Jake knew there had been a terrible mistake made.
Did you recognize this modern retelling of a popular Bible story? It is the story found in Genesis 29 where we learn of Jacob's love for Rachel.
While many love stories are great, this one always stands out. In Genesis chapter 29, Jacob arrives at his uncle Laban’s home in search of a wife. There he finds Rachel, Laban’s youngest daughter and her older sister Leah. Rachel is beautiful. Jacob’s in love with her and makes a proposal to her father saying, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”And so he worked for seven years. We’re told in scripture that, “they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Beautiful story…except…
Laban brought his daughter to Jacob in the dark of the night to be his wife. Not knowing it was Rachel’s older sister, they consummated their marriage that night. When the morning came he realized that he had been deceived into marrying Leah. He was able to also marry Rachel a week later, but only under the terms that he would work another seven years for Laban–making it fourteen years in total.
Talk about true love... and true betrayal. As we explore romantic relationships in the Bible, we will quickly discover that they are anything but perfect yet God still blesses. Rachel and Jacob are eventually able to be together, and they have a son- Joseph. Not only that, but Leah and Jacob have 12 sons- the 12 tribes of Judah.