How good it is to believe, no matter what, that God is good and He loves little children more than even we do, and we find rest in His grace and mercy.
I think we learn that in a brand new way as parents! I know I am. It’s one thing to trust God with our own bodies because we can buck up and suffer and it’s only our own pain. But watching your child suffer is a whole new ballgame, isn’t it? That’s when our faith is truly tested I think, like Abraham sacrificing Isaac. I think old Abe would have taken the knife to himself in a heartbeat, but asking him for his son, the one he waited so long for? Screw that! What’s wrong with you, God? Did I misunderstand that You are loving and kind and would never be so sadistic as to ask me to sacrifice my own child for some twisted sense of adoration and dedication?
But yes, God asks us for our sons and daughters. He asks for our EVERYTHING. Whatever we have is His, His gift, His blessing, His grace. And for whatever else we do with it, we must first give it back to Him.
I’ve always loved the story of Hannah and Samuel, how she pleaded for a child and God gave her a son whom she dedicated back to God in gratitude. But as I grew older and reread the story I thought wait a tic! It clearly said that God closed her womb in the first place! He MADE her suffer and anguish. And He allowed that crazy wench Penninah to bully her daily for YEARS. What’s up with THAT??
But through it all, Hannah stayed faithful. She pleaded with God, so strongly she appeared to be drunk to Eli. Every day she went and prayed with all her heart. She didn’t curse God, or blame Him for withholding that one thing from her that meant so much. Even her own husband didn’t understand her pain but it doesn’t seem she became bitter, just saddened.
And then God remembered her.
This phrase pops up here and there, particularly in the Old Testament. It would be an interesting study – I’ll leave that to the scholars, maybe my husband – on this phrase and when it is used. You could take it as God sitting up there on His throne and going, “Oh yeaaaah, Hannah. Yeah yeah she was that one chick in that place at that time. Right, her. I’ll put her on my list.”
Of course we know better. We know that God remembering is much more than a mere recognition. We know that Jesus remembered the man on the cross next to him. We know that God remembered David in the pit. We know that God remembered Job in his suffering and blessed him in the end blessed him with twice as much as before. We know that God remembered Samson in his most desperate hour of destruction and took out the bad guys in one fell swoop. And we know, oh how we know, that God will always remember His covenant with His people, how God provided a way, The Way, to bring us home.
And in the end, we must believe that He remembers us, that it’s a way of saying at just the right time, He will do what we cannot even imagine and certainly cannot do for ourselves. He will remember our children because He promised us He would. He will remember them in their time of need and darkest hours. And when we have no hope, we need to remember Him. Remember His greatness in the past. Remember His promises and mercies. Remember His strength and power. Remember His faithfulness. Remember His own sacrifice of His only Son for us so that we have something to remember and to cling to in the midst of grief and pain and sorrow and fear. We remember that He loves us, oh how He loves us, and He loves our children and is working on their behalf and teaching us all how to trust Him more in the process.
So I wait on the Lord, for He heard my cry. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” – Hannah
(And for the record – another good study would be one of all the prayers of women recorded in the Bible. ‘Cuz they’re kinda awesome.)