Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Skinned Knees

I get hurt, upset, and confused. I have this tendency of trying to deal with things on my own, I'm used to being self reliant and sometimes I forget - actually I'm not sure that's true. I know I'm supposed to go to God, but sometimes I just don't want to - that I'm not supposed to be relying upon myself but upon the grace provided to me via the Cross.

In my quiet time this morning I asked the Lord where He wanted me in His Word, I was planning on starting in the NT, perhaps in Galatians but after an upsetting trial yesterday I thought it would be best to see if He had something specific for me. One word came to mind: Hannah. I haven't read the story of Hannah in well over four or five months and haven't thought too much about her since my initial encounter with her.

In 1 Samuel 1 we meet Hannah. She's married, but barren and her husband has another wife that has been able to give him children. Hannah has to endure the scorn inflicted upon her by her husband's wife as they head to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice.

3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.

6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.

10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
(1 Samuel 1:3-10)

Hannah goes to the house of the Lord to pray after Peninnah hurts her, she went to the Lord and wept and pleaded for a son. As she is praying Eli confronts her, mistakenly thinking she is drunk.

And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. (verse 15, emphasis mine)

She poured her heart out to God and He heard her. She left the temple that night with her spirit lifted and eventually was given the son she longed for. He took her heart ache and replaced it with joy. But the key here is that she had to give it up to Him.

Hannah didn't immediately go to the temple when her husband's wife hurt her, we see this in verses 7 and 8. Instead she hung around and cried and refused to eat. It is only after her husband asks her why she won't eat that she finally goes to God. Perhaps she went because she finally reached her rope's end with this problem. I imagine that has a lot to do with it, otherwise why not go sooner? I believe it's because she, like many of us, was trying to deal with her problems under her own strength. Our pride often gets in the way and we think we can, or at least should be able to, handle things on our own. We say to ourselves, "I'll deal with this and if something really big comes along then I'll go to God. Surely, God helps those who help themselves, so if I can just get through this I'll be fine."

Like Hannah we often go "to the Temple" as a last resort. We don't go straight into our prayer closets when we are hurt but often will sit and feel sorry for ourselves and be angry for sometime before we go to God with it. We often try to find solutions by our own reasoning rather than consulting God. Obviously waiting isn't the best way to handle our hurts. We should be heading to Him sooner and sooner as we grow in our relationship with Him.

Like small children who fall and cut their knees go to their mother to have their boo boo kissed and mended, so should we be going to our Father. My son doesn't wait around when he gets hurt, he immediately cries out for me in his pain, fully confidant that I can comfort him. And more often than not when he turns to look for me I am already standing right there with him.

As God's children we can take comfort in knowing our Father is always right there with us. We just need to turn around and realize it. We have to stop trying to fix our wounds by slapping a band aid on it and go to our Father to have the wound cleaned out and mended properly. And the longer we wait to do that, often the worse the cut becomes.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.(Isaiah 53:4, emphasis mine)

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.(Hebrews 4:16)

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