Response to Circumstances; May 3, 2021

1 Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

Recently I have been reminded many times that the people in the Bible for the most part lived in a polytheistic environment. They might not have thought there was no other god in existence besides Yahweh, but like Hannah, they came to the conviction that He was the only One worth worshiping. This particular verse has been set beautifully to music, and I would guess that most people who sing it think it comes from Psalms, when actually it is from Hannah’s prayer. There is a huge difference between societal religion and experiential faith. Hannah could create this beautiful, powerful prayer/song/psalm because she had encountered God directly, through His answering her heartfelt request. I feel sure she became more and more aware of Him through her pregnancy and raising her son to the point that he was able to be taken to Eli at Shiloh. That was what enabled her to make the huge sacrifice of being separated from her son, but she certainly didn’t dismiss Samuel from her thoughts and love. It is record­ed in 2:19 that she took him a new robe in her annual visits, and I’m sure that was a reminder to him that he hadn’t been discarded. We all have circumstances that seem less than ideal, but how we respond to them is the key to their impact on our lives. Hannah and Samuel both yielded their circumstances to Yahweh, and were blessed as a result. (2:21)

I have certainly had many things in my life that weren’t fun at the time, and some have left lasting scars. Some of the things that were most problematic at the time I wouldn’t trade for anything now, because they shaped and grew me into what I am, making me more assured in my dependence on God. As a pastor I am continually dealing with people who don’t have that perspective yet, so my task is to help them gain that perspective. My older daughter was in an abusive first marriage, but she says she doesn’t regret it, because it provided her with a daughter whom she loves greatly and is very proud of. I must have done something right in raising her! Like Paul, I need to remember that every good thing I have is the result of God’s grace, (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that grace is enough to deal with anything and everything I will deal with from now through eternity. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the very good day yesterday. Thank You for everyone who was here for the service, and for Your clear presence in it. Thank You for showing me how to cover for the battery dying in the digital audio recorder, and that I didn’t panic when I discovered what had happened. I pray that what You spoke through me would indeed bless many who hear it digitally, as well as those who heard it in person. May we continue to grow as a church in every way that You intend, on Your schedule and not ours, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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