Bringing children into this world is always hard, whether through birth or adoption. But with the news of Piper’s burn, our path to adopt Katya got harder.
A long time ago, another woman, Hannah, receives a God-appointed mission.
For years she had prayed, and wept, and poured out her soul asking God to give her a son. Finally, God answered her prayer. She conceived and gave birth to a baby boy, Samuel.
As she wraps the baby, Samuel, in swaddling cloths and watches him search for his thumb, Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, rejoice in God’s goodness. Life continues in the most normal, joyful of ways with Hannah nursing her son, singing over him, delighting in him as he turns over for the first time… Samuel continues to grow, as babies do. He gets stronger and pulls himself to his hands and knees on the verge of crawling. Hannah watches, smiles, folds a bit of laundry, and thanks God for the privilege of caring for this sweet boy.
Sometime in this first year as Samuel goes from rocking, to crawling, to taking his first steps, Hannah hears from God. Hannah knows God’s voice, much as the sheep know the voice of the Shepherd. But the word he speaks to her is a hard word, revealing an oh-so-hard path. Hannah holds the word in her heart, prays over it, tests it, treasures it, until she is ready to share it with her husband.
Elkanah is preparing to head to Shiloh. It’s time for him to make his annual sacrifice and worship in the temple. Every year Hannah has gone with him, and he expects that this year will be especially joyful. This year they will take their son. But Hannah has this word from God burning inside. It was time to tell her husband.
“Elkanah, I have something amazing, but so very hard to tell you. God has spoken to me.”
She pauses as Elkanah turns to her, not with doubt that his wife has heard from God, but with a knowing that this is no ordinary conversation. Hannah grasps her husband’s hands. She needs to feel his strength. Raising her gaze to meet his, she says with measured words, “As soon as Samuel stops nursing, I will take him to the temple to serve God and the priest.”
Tears fill Hannah’s eyes as the weightiness of this word settles on Elkanah. “Samuel will live there … always.”
Elkanah loves his wife, trusts his wife, but this path doesn’t make sense. It is so very hard, beyond belief really. His thoughts swirl, but he brings himself back to his wife. “I trust you, Hannah. I know you hear from God. But, give it some time. Wait until he’s finished nursing.”
Hannah continues to cry slow tears as Elkanah draws her close. “And Hannah, I’ll be praying for the Lord make his word so clear to you.”
Elkanah goes to Shiloh by himself that year. And as he goes, he talks with God and ponders this very hard path. (To be continued …)
For mothers, we know on some deep level that our children are really not our own. We’ve been given this honor, and none of us really know for how long. Dripping through the mundane of endless meals, and laundry, and errands is an eternal weight of glory being carved out in us and through us.
All of us are not mothers. And motherhood is not the only hard path. Sometimes simply choosing to trust God, to love God, to follow God through painful circumstances is the hardest path of all.
On Monday, I asked you to consider your hard path. What is your story? What are the choices you have made to lay aside self and put on Christ? What are the prayers you have prayed that have brought gravity to your life?
Hannah’s prayers were answered when she conceived and gave birth to a son. But, answers to prayer can bring a certain gravitas to life. Hannah’s path got harder when she heard from God. The easiest thing she could have done was to ignore His voice. Who would have known? Have you had this experience? That a word from God brings pain? I would be honored to hear about it and, if you’re still in the midst, to pray for you. On Friday we’ll see what happens with Hannah, Samuel, and Elkanah and how she walks this very hard path.
Digging Deeper: 1Samuel 1:1-23; John 10:1-30; John 6:60-71