by Susan Tuttle
The Lord remembers us and will bless us. Psalm 115:12
I recently read Hannah’s story out of 1 Samuel. She was a barren woman, and I cannot even begin to imagine her pain. In that day and age not bearing children made her an outcast, and though her husband loved her dearly, it was a burden she could not escape. It didn’t help that his other wife, Peninnah, taunted her. Hannah could not escape the sadness of her empty womb, and she made herself sick over it.
Hannah had to wonder where God was. She prayed for a child, and yet year after year she remained childless. Year after year Peninnah reminded her that she had children and Hannah did not. Year after year there remained silence from God.
I think sometimes, in that silence, we stop craving the one thing we desire and begin to crave God’s voice. We want to know he sees us. We want his presence even more than the one thing we are missing. That thing no longer is our idol and our eyes shift to God. Our heart becomes consumed with one thought, “Lord, have you forgotten me?”
Hannah had this moment. Where what she wanted was eclipsed by wanting to know God had not forgotten her. Listen to her prayer:
“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…” (v.11)
See, opening her womb became the sign that she wasn’t forgotten. It was no longer about having a child. No, she simply wanted the assurance that God remembered her. He could have the child, only look on her with favor and show her he hadn’t forgotten her. That mattered more. And God heard her and after what must have felt like an eternity to Hannah, "God remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son." (vs.19-20)
Beloved, just like Hannah, God sees you. He hears you. His silence does not mean you are forgotten. He’s at work. I cannot promise the answer will be what you want it to be or even when you want it, but I can promise this: he is the God who sees you, El Roi, and he remembers you.
***reposted from my blog, Steps
By Marie Wells Coutu
Some people listen to music, some read, others play games on their tablet computers or watch a movie on a DVD player.
Then there are those few of us who write.
But as much as I'd like to work on my novel en route to the American Fiction Writers Conference, I find it difficult to focus with all the activity going on. There's the soldier across the aisle listening to music (which I can hear despite his earbuds) and playing electronic solitaire. The guy next to me is playing Sodoku on his iPad, and the little boy behind me is talking, as 2-year-olds are wont to do.
How can I think about my own plot and characters when so many other interesting characters and conversations swirl around me?
Then I wonder, how does God focus on my prayers, my needs, while at the same time hearing and answering billions of other prayers all over the world? I guess that's why He is God and I am not.
And that makes my day.
I have called on you because you answer me, O God.turn your ear toward me. Hear what I have to say. (Psalm 17:6 GWT)
By Marie Wells Coutu
The first verses of the Bible tell us that when God spoke, He created.
He said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
If you or I walk into a dark room and say, “Let there be light,” nothing will happen. We don’t have the power or the authority to create light. But God does.
Unless we flip the switch—or someone else does it for us—we will not get light. And unless there is a power source behind the switch, we will remain in the dark.
But when God speaks, things happen.
He spoke, and He created you. He spoke your children into existence. He spoke the world into existence.
The Hebrew word for the verb “to create” never has a human subject. The Jewish people understood that creation is a work that is unique to God. We can take the talents He gives us and the substances He has created and make new objects, but only He can create something from nothing.
The Gospel of John tells us:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5, NIV)
If God’s Word is that powerful, shouldn’t we pay attention?
Until my baby died, the quicksand kept pulling me down.
One step at a time, I was sucked into the mire deeper and deeper.
I knew the king was in his palace that day. Maybe I wanted to punish him for staying safely in Jerusalem while my husband, Uriah, and the rest of the army faced the enemy on the battlefield.
I knew King David could see the roof of my house from his palace balcony, where he liked to walk, but that day I chose to bathe on the roof in broad daylight.
That was my first step into the quagmire. But I didn't expect what happened next. One of the king's servants appeared at my door, saying my presence was requested at the palace.
How could I refuse? He was not only the king, he was my husband’s supreme commander. And perhaps I was lonely. Whatever the reason, I went to the king and willingly gave myself to him.
We enjoyed being together and the loneliness faded away. Everything seemed wonderful.
Until I learned I was pregnant.
Since my husband had been away at war, everyone would know that I had been unfaithful. Uriah could have me stoned for adultery.
When I revealed the situation to David, the color fled from his face. Soldiers would no longer want to fight for a king who slept with the wife of one of his commanders, while the army slept on the ground miles from home. He devised a plan and sent for Uriah, but when David told him to go home and spend time with me, he refused to even sleep in the house. "How can I enjoy any comforts while my men are on the front lines?" he asked me. Nothing I did could seduce him to lay with me.
Then David arranged for Uriah to be caught in the middle of the line of battle, ensuring that he would be killed. When the word of his death reached me, I pretended to grieve but inside I was relieved. I thanked God for giving me—and the king—a way out of our predicament.
How wrong I was!
David and I married and soon we celebrated the birth of our son. Life seemed to be all I ever wanted it to be. David wanted an heir to the throne, and he believed our son would be king one day.
When the baby became ill, David begged God to heal him but nothing helped. Not his prayers. Not sacrifices. Not the herbs and spices of the healers. After our son died, I thought the heartbreak would kill us, too.
That's when God showed me the sins we had committed against Him. I confessed my transgressions to God and knew the cleansing power of His forgiveness.
It took David awhile, but after he went to see the priest, he changed. He returned with a peace about him that he had not shown since we met. He even wrote this beautiful song that says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Maybe you've heard it, but no one can sing it like David can. His voice resonates with his passion and love for the Lord.
God pulled us out of the mighty mess we walked into with such stubbornness. He rescued us and gave us another chance. He also gave us another son.
See, he's sleeping now. We named him Solomon. And our God has promised me that he will be a great king, and that through his children, all the people of the world will be saved.
Aren’t you grateful that God is a God of second chances?
© 2012 Marie Wells Coutu