Wednesday, May 31, 2017

     A few months ago, during Mission's Conference at our church, one of the missionaries commented that he is very, very careful about what he sings, prays, and says, for fear that he may be speaking without realizing what he was saying and that God may just require more of him than he is prepared to give. Immediately I thought of a post that I wrote several years ago about a song that I heard when Jerry and I were newly married and how I loved the words of the song and even sang it until God did require me to give up more than I was prepared to give. Then I thought of how God has used all of those "losses" to allow me to have more than I ever thought I could possess.
     That song was titled, "For Whatever it Takes to Draw Closer to you Lord", and it talks about trading sunshine for rain, comfort for pain, etc. I just thought it was such a beautiful song. But once I began to lose my babies and my health, I hated that song. For many years I would not listen to it and put it far from my brain. Then about seven years ago our Pastor and his daughter sang it at our church. As soon as I heard the first few notes I headed to bathroom because the tear spigot was turning to full blast. I sat on the toilet and just cried, as the Holy Spirit comforted me. Was I now willing to sing that song in truth? It took an act of faith for me to fully surrender my health to the One who created me. Once I let go and let God be the Lord of my physical body, I had such peace and could truly say, "For whatever it takes to be closer to you, Lord, that's what I am willing to do."
     How I wish that I could say that ever since that day I have been able to praise and thank the Lord for the physical trials I continue to face. But there are still times when I complain and cry and just get weary. How I wish that I could also say that the Lord fully healed my body. Instead, He continues to allow me to suffer. But in that suffering, I am learning and I am changing my thoughts and I am beginning to understand the pain of others. The two phrases that get me through the hardest times are: "It could always be worse", and "This is only temporary."
     I pray for that missionary. I pray that he will be able to trust God. I pray that when he does go through the trials and pains of life, that he will grow in his faith. I know that I am a different woman than I ever imagined I would be because of all that I have had to endure, and I thank God for it. I pray that this missionary will become the man that God wants him to be.
     Several years ago, I heard the analogy of Christians being like diamonds. They do not become items of beauty until they have had all the rough parts removed with chisel and hammer. In the hands of a skilled craftsman, they become jewels of great value.
     You are the second wife of a man who seems to love you dearly. No, his first wife did not leave him, nor is she even dead. No, you are the second wife of a man who already has one wife. He says that his love for you is greater than the love you would have for your children. You accept what he says, but you long to know that love for children yourself. For some reason you are not able to produce any children while the first wife continues to have them year after year. She in her pride makes fun of you every chance she gets for she knows that her husband loves you more than he loves her. But she is the one who has produced the heir and she is oh so proud of it.
     Your husband is a man who fears and obeys the LORD and is even of the family of the high priest, though not closely related. Still your husband is a good man who regularly takes his family to the tabernacle to worship the God of your faith. Every year, the whole family makes the trek for the special occasions that are required for every man to make.
     This year, you are so desperate for a child that you decide that you will earnestly pray and make a promise to God that if He will give you a son, you will dedicate this son to God. As you pray, you are in bitterness of soul and tears flow from your eyes. Your lips move while you pray, but no words are heard. Without your knowledge, the high priest sees what you are doing and instead of comforting and encouraging you, he condemns you for being drunk. He is very familiar with how drunkards appear because his own sons are wicked, guilty, and truly evil young men. You speak to the high priest and set him straight about your actions. Now you are committed to keep your promise for not only does God know your vow, but so does the high priest.
     A few months later, you realize that you are feeling strange and hope that what you doubt may actually be true. Can it be, that after all these years, and after all the loving, you are finally pregnant? Once it is confirmed, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has heard and answered your prayers. At last a longed for son is born from your body and placed in your arms.
     As you look into his trusting eyes, you begin to think about this child being placed in the care of the high priest. How can you do such a thing? It is the same high priest who accused you of drunkenness. It is the same high priest who does nothing to control or correct his wicked sons. It is the same high priest whose sons work in the tabernacle where you will place your precious son. How can you even think that your son will not turn out just like them? How can you not worry about his future? How can you keep this vow to God Almighty? And that is when you remember that He is God Almighty and that you can trust Him. He is the one who heard and answered your prayer for this baby boy who now lays in your arms. Instead of looking at the wickedness within the tabernacle, you keep your focus on God. You trust God! And God greatly blesses you for your faith.
     This is the story of Hannah that you can read in I Samuel 1-2. She demonstrated great faith which we women of today can learn to emulate. She trusted God, and God blessed her. This same God is our God if we receive His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Saviour. We too can trust God. We can trust God with our children, with our selves, with our everything, and He will bless us for it. We don't need to fear the future nor the present nor the evil that surrounds us. Instead, we just need to trust God.