Saturday, October 2, 2010

Notes of Devotion: Diana Rahe Taylor

Diana Rahe Taylor

HANNAH—A WOMAN OF FAITH
1 Samuel 1-2:1-10

Hannah is my heroine. I, to some degree, identify with her plight. I say to some degree because barrenness doesn’t carry the stigma today in our culture as it did in hers. However, I remember those dismal times when I thought I would never have a child. Like Hannah I prayed for conception, but unlike Hannah, my faith floundered. God didn’t seem to be listening.

Because of some physical problems, the doctor told me I would probably not have children, and even if I got pregnant wouldn’t carry the child to full-term. I was eighteen at the time. With no immediate prospects of marriage, I tucked the diagnosis away with only a little concern. A couple of years after Charlie and I married, the physician’s comment came back to haunt me.

Charlie was headed to Vietnam—a war where casualties were high and his chances of being killed or maimed were infinite. I wanted his baby. If something happened to him, I wanted a child to preserve his memory. I wanted it bad enough to beg the doctor for fertility drugs. The doctor, whose name has long since disappeared from my remembrance, refused my request. I can look back now and admit his advice was good, but at the time I was very unhappy.

After a year on the front lines and after being wounded twice and awarded two bronze stars for valor, Charlie returned home, not unscathed, but whole. After another year of trying to get pregnant, we applied for adoption, which incorporated another long wait.

The longer the wait, the more I struggled. I couldn’t go to baby showers; I cried my way through Mother’s Day celebrations. I hated talk about formulas, teething, and jubilant comments about a baby’s first year. I avoided walking past the church nursery. While I felt God had let me down, I did pray. In fact, in my journal is one such prayer. Sometimes I read it as a reminder of my limited faith and God great goodness.

The scripture says that Hannah was in “bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” (1 Samuel 1:10 NKJV). It’s an emotion I truly comprehend. But what speaks most to me from Hannah’s story is her tremendous faith-filled prayers. I wish I could say the same about mine.

Hannah was a woman who beseeched God with purity, believing God would give her the desire of her heart. Her heart was breaking, but her connection with God didn’t waivered. When Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, down-sized Hannah’s broken-spirit, saying, “Am I not better than ten sons?” Hannah took it to the Lord. When Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife, ridiculed Hannah and dangled her own motherhood before Hannah, Hannah took her anguish to the Lord. And when Hannah relinquished her first-born son, though just a toddler, into Eli’s care at the temple thus fulfilling her promise to the Lord, she rejoiced in the goodness of God.

Oh, that all of us would grasp the power of faith in our loving Lord. The Apostle Peter said, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 4:6-7 NKJV). Peter’s exhortation continues with this warning, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 4:8 NKJV).

Like Hannah, when our souls languish in desperation, we can bring it to God, believing he will respond with love and kindness. Let us heed Peter’s advice and not waver in our faith or give Satan the power to destroy God’s name and our testimony. God never forsakes us or fails us. We can trust Him, because he cares for us. His goodness is guaranteed. Let us follow Hannah’s example and become women of faith.

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