I must admit I like happy endings. If I’m going to read a book or watch a film, I don’t see it much as entertainment unless you feel good at the end of it. I think the one film that confirmed me in this belief was ‘Love Story’. It’s hard to think of a sadder film, and it’s not one I would wish to revisit.
The account of Jacob and Rachel is a beautiful love story. And like the film of that name, it too had a very sad ending, as Rachel died giving birth to her second son (Genesis 35:16-20). The amazing thing about it, is that Jacob did not seem to be at all desolate. His grief is not mentioned, yet, given the earlier part of the story, it is hard to imagine he did not feel very bereaved. I suppose there was some comfort in the birth of his son. Rachel named him ‘Son of my sorrow’, yet Jacob, who we would have expected to feel grieved, changed it to ‘Son of my right hand’ – Benjamin as we know him. There was a redeeming feature – the birth of this second precious son of his beloved wife. And also maybe, at long last, Jacob’s relationship with God was established in a way that would give him the strength to cope with all difficulties.
But maybe it had given him something else – a prophetic insight. There was going to be another baby born very close by, in Bethlehem – and he too would be a man of sorrows, but then would take up his position at the right hand of God – the son at God’s right hand. This would be one who would take away the sin, the sickness and the sorrow of the world, for those who trust in him. And he is now sitting in that position of power at the right hand of God. He is the one who gives us strength to cope with all difficulties, and the one through whom we can expect our own ‘happy ending’ – the greatest ‘Love Story’ the world has ever seen – and one I’m glad to read over and over again!