Monday, October 1, 2012
Children: Bountiful Blessings
A few days ago, I began to read 1 Samuel. I started to skip the first couple chapters because I've read them before but felt that God prompted me to just start from the beginning. And I'm glad He did.
The beginning of 1 Samuel starts with a woman named Hannah. She is one of two wives of a man named Elkanah. His first wife had kids. I don't know exactly how many but she had more than Hannah. Hannah was barren. Reproductively challenged, infertile... how ever you choose to say it. She couldn't have kids. And it's the only thing she wanted. Her husband's other wife would even mock her inability to conceive. One year, on a trip to town to worship, Hannah had a bit of a breakdown before the Lord and pleaded with Him to give her a child. The priest, Eli, saw her and confronted her and upon realizing that she was truly grief stricken and down, he encouraged her and told her to have peace and "may God give you what you've asked of him" (1 Samuel 1:17). She and her family go home and soon after, God gives her what she's been asking Him for, a child. A son. She then promises God that she will thank Him for his gift by giving back to Him what He blessed her with. When her son, Samuel, is of the right age, she takes him to the priest Eli and has him serve the Lord under Eli. God then blesses her further and she has something like 6 more kids.
I have been so richly blessed. I have had no problem whatsoever conceiving. I have been blessed with ridiculous fertility. And I thank God for it. Honestly. I have friends and family who have struggled for YEARS going through the pain and devastation and life altering experience with infertility. It was hard to watch them go through it so I can only imagine what it was like to actually be in their shoes. I also see all these women who are wreck less with their "blessing". I also know women who seem to keep having babies over and over that they can't seem to take care of. And I don't mean "can't" in the sense that they're struggling financially or have health problems or something. The women are just selfish creatures that don't care about the kids they keep bringing into the world and dump them on to other people. Makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.
I understand what God was trying to teach me through my million and one time reading this passage about Hannah and Samuel. My son is a blessing. He is a gift. Not only was his birth a gift, and then him living through his ordeal in the hospital but each day since then has been a blessing. And the answer to my problem with my son's delightfully strong willed behavior is to do what Hannah did. Maybe not in the same exact way but it boils down to the same thing. God has blessed me with an amazing little boy. Full of life and excitement and joy (until he's not getting his own way). Expressive and creative and affectionate. The best thing I can do for him and for myself and for the rest of our family is to turn him over to God.
There are a whole bunch of different ways I can do this. The gist of it is making sure that he is saturated with the Love and Word of God. That he knows what his purpose here on earth is, why God created him, what God did for him in sending His OWN Son to pay the price for our sins and make sure he is trained in the words, teachings, principles and truths of the Bible. That's what Hannah did. That's EXACTLY what I need to do with and for my own son. And for my daughters. The same return of blessing has to happen with them too.
Understanding WHY God blessed me with my children has made me see Him and they in a different light. All of this is something I knew before but... differently. Like I said, not as deep.
I wish I was as eloquent as Hannah, in her song of praise recorded for the rest of time to be read over and over in thanks to God, but I'm not. So I will just pledge here to spend the rest of my life giving back to God the blessings He has trusted me with.