Sunday, November 06, 2011

The journey is long, but the blessings are huge

We are continuing on with Hannah this week in 1Samuel 1. I hope you are seeing Hannah as a real person.  A woman hungering after God and the blessings she was lavished with by God. One of things I know God honors is a heart hungry after Him.  I am praying for you this week to hunger and thirst for the God.  To see Him in a new light.  A new perspective. So let's read on and see if God will show you something you might need to start this week.

One of the most extraordinary things I think happened on that day that Hannah "fell" on the altar was a new depth of understanding of  God's love.  Not only was she ready to receive God's love, she was ready to give it. This process of that final day on the altar took years.  Hannah had been tormented and tormented herself for years before she became broken and spilled out before the Lord.  Her journey was a long and painful one.  But the one thing that held her from becoming bitter , angry and despondent was her love for God.  I am sure that was an attraction for Elkannah as well. There is nothing more beautiful than a heart for God.  But those  years all Hannah saw was a worthless rag doll of a woman. How much more was being created in her heart than she ever knew.

Some days that is how my life feels, long and hard. Every day is a new challenge, a new test of my strength. I look over at other women that have time (and money) to just get their haircut and shaped. I have to fight off the despondency.  There are days that all I long  to just be able to get exercise in  and a schedule. My days consist of "Olivia" and then everything else. Please do not hear me complaining. I recognize the grace and gift of each and every day.  But some days, you do tend to wonder and want what others have. That is the human side of our nature. That is some of the imperfections that God always wants to work out in our life.

Elkannah's second wife is a great example of never allowing God to work through those inadequacies of life.  She was jealous, angry and bitter towards Hannah because she recognized something she did not have, Elkannah's heart. She did not turn her ways toward the Lord to allow Him to protect her from that hardness. She just became angry and bitter. I know that her heart was quite unattractive to Elkannah. 

Since Hannah's heart was turned toward the Lord. He protected her heart. He saw her hurt and pain and patiently waited for her to turn it all over to Him. As a parent, God knew how important it was for Hannah to reach out to Him. That she would learn to trust Him. In that process, she would develop a strong foundation and a heart of love that would birth a mighty leader, Samuel. She also created a bond of love for Samuel so strong that he did not resent her for leaving him at the temple but anticipated her arrival each year. Only someone who knows love can give that kind of love that surpasses our earthly flesh into a spiritual realm.

God delivered on His promise and Samuel was born.  But no longer did Hannah have that ache of hurt and shame.  She was walking with renewed purpose.  She could have doubted that God would not give her a child but honestly I think from that moment on, she really did not care.  The promise she received on the altar was a love that was unconditional, overwhelming, everlasting.

When she became pregnant, Hannah more than recognized the miracle inside of her. She saw Samuel as the fulfillment of a promise but I think that promise was also one to her, about her.  The love of her Abba Father. She promised to dedicate her child to him.  That dedication, that ability of a mother  to let go of her one and only son at the time.  That one promise she gave back so freely to the Lord by sending Samuel to the temple to be raised as a priest.  What a demonstration of love and sacrifice on her part. But because she was first loved…she was able to give love.  The miracle that she wanted in one child became the leader of a nation.   The journey of one woman being broken and spilled out, led to a voice of God to the nation of Israel.  A huge miracle.  God breathed and destined.

Wow.  We really never know what God has planned once we start walking towards him.  I am sure Hannah never knew God's intent was to birth Samuel as the leader of the nation.  She just wanted a child.  The reasons don't matter anymore, the journey does.  The journey led to so many other miracles. 

In our day, I wonder what Billy Graham's mother thought when she saw him speaking to the world about Christ. Did she have any idea that he would be such a strong voice for the gospel? I was able to meet Max Lucado at one time.  He was so different than what I expected.  I was expecting a very quite unassuming man.  He was full of personality and charismatic. He was funny, lots of energy, and completely about his family. I wonder if his mom had any idea that he would speak so eloquently about Christ through his writings. Those writings are profoundly penetrating to the heart of the matter.

 I have no idea what their parents were like but I know this, God has truly exemplified His love for His people through the word of God and in our day, through these men as well. Yes, there are many, many others, but when I think of love, God's love for His people, these are the men that come to mind.

Who comes to mind for you? Who shaped your love for God to allow you to hunger and thirst to know God more? 

Has God showed you something important about your child that  you need to nurture?  Has He shown you a character trait that the Holy Spirit reminds you to foster at times?

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