Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Tale of Two Hannahs

Sixteen years ago today my world exploded.  Roulain, my DIL, went into pre-mature labor and was rushed to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.  The family rushed to get there....and prayers began going up.  Roulie knew it was going to be a little girl and teased me that her name would be Blaze Starr.  I was beside myself.  I did not want a granddaughter with a hooker name.  I begged and pleaded for her to change her mind....and then it happened.  At almost 24 weeks gestation my precious granddaughter came into the world.  Non of us knew if she were going to make it.  We just put her in God's hands and waited.  It was about that time that I found this verse:  I am a woman who is deeply troubled…I was pouring out my soul to the LORD  (1 Samuel 1:15, NIV).  Those days were a blurr.  I remember the day she had open heart surgery at a week old.  The physicians hands were huge...and she was no bigger than a Barbie doll....but she made it.  I knew then that she was a fighter and it made me smile.  I learned a lot in Samuel over the next few weeks.  I met Hannah of the Old Testament: a godly woman who had some serious problems.  Her problems weren’t brief and they weren’t simple.  They were year after year problems.  Challenges that made her feel empty and frustrated. Have you got a few of those in your life?  Sure you do.  We all do.  Each of us goes through trials and faces pain.  My family was living at UAB and never knowing day to day if Hannah would be there on the next visit.   The Hannah of the Bible experienced infertility and she also had a disturbing rival-wife problem that was miserably complicated. Yes, cringe with me, I said rival-wife.  She was one of two wives to her husband…a cultural norm at the time…but terribly difficult no matter how you slice it. (Read 1 Samuel 1-2 for the full story of Hannah.)  Refreshingly enough, in her pain Hannah didn’t pretend to be okay.  She openly admitted, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled” (1 Samuel 1:15).  There are many lessons we can learn from Hannah, but today I’d like us to look at her response to the problems that burdened her heart.  Hanna took her problems to God.  She cried out to the Lord.  “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.” (1 Samuel 1:10).  She took her burdens directly to God.  On those fall days that turned to winter before our eyes I cannot tell you that I went to the throne....AFTER I went to the phone.  I poured out my heart to my friends....and ignored my heavenly father.  I wanted a chance to love Hannah Ruth.  Life consisted of teaching, praying,....and traveling to UAB. Hannah from the Bible didn’t just briefly bend a knee here, she poured out her soul!  She poured out her sorrow, her disappointments, her frustrations, her depression, her confusion, her anger, her embarrassments, her anguish and her grief. She poured out her emptiness! And guess what happened?  God filled her with the fullness of His peace!  Before she spent time with the Lord, Hannah had lost her appetite and was filled with despair. After she poured out her soul to God, the Bible shows us that her appetite returned and her countenance had changed.  “Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast” (1 Samuel 1:18, emphasis mine). Hannah was “no longer downcast” because she experienced the One and Only life-changing God in the chamber of His presence.   I learned during the birth of my Hannah that God is faithful.  He longs to fill our souls with peace regardless of the circumstances we face.  I found such a peace on my drives back and forth to UAB. Hannah didn’t just do a “drive thru” prayer time with God and so did I.  I parked with him for a while and did some serious business with Him.   In March....the month Hannah was actually due to be born....she came home.   She is a normal sixteen year old beautiful girl.  When I look at her I can hardly remember those UAB days.  She is an amazing young woman.....I am one proud grandmother.....and MY God is AWESOME!  

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