Monday, October 24th, 2016
Suffering (Part 28)
There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, 'Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life...'
1 Samuel 1:1,10-11 (NIV)
The Books of Samuel start with Hannah: a faithful wife, who was barren and sad. Although loved by the Lord and her husband, Hannah was taunted by wife #2, who was fruitful (but less loved)--and knew it.
So Hannah offered a bargain to God: If she could conceive, her son would be His, and God decided to accept the deal. Therein, Hannah delivered Samuel: first from her womb, then later to the Lord, and Israel would be changed forever.
But one familiar question begs asking: Why did Hannah receive a miracle, but other faithful, childless wives do not? God's timing and choices are His to know. Our continued trust is His to receive. Because God will make every saint fruitful, if we persevere in hope and prayer.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: What should you know about childlessness?
1) Be sympathetic and never mock pain: 'Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing' (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Also, 'Mourn with those who mourn' (Romans 12:15). 'And pray for one another, that you may be healed' (James 5:16).
2) Impossible conceptions still happen: 'Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son' (Genesis 18:14). 'Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age... she who was called barren' (Luke 1:36).
3) For faithful saints, fruitfulness is guaranteed. 'He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!' (Psalm 113:9); 'Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it...' (Philippians 1:6).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Raising children is part of your job. They don't need to come from your own womb, but they do need uplifting guidance. Once done, this generation of kids will rise, follow Him and call you blessed.
To Be Continued...
* Short article: What should we learn from the life of Hannah? https://gotquestions.org/life-Hannah.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.