We Can Focus on Today
This was a different sort of prayer. It wasn’t the prayer offered out of memory or routine, like the ones you say before a meal or before bed. It wasn’t a spontaneous prayer of joyful gratitude, like the ones you declare at the sound of good news or great relief. This was a prayer from the depths of her heart. It was a prayer offered in deep anguish. A prayer offered from the heavy weight of a wound that wouldn’t heal. Deep anguish.
Eli was nearby watching her pray. Her lips were moving but her voice was not heard as she wept bitterly. For some, this would be a picture of sadness and heartache. For others it’s a clear depiction of desperation. But if you look closely enough, what one really discovers is a picture of profound commitment. In the midst of Hannah’s deep anguish and bitter weeping, she was making a vow. Her deepest desire for a child had erupted into this prayer of desperation. Yet, in that anguish, Hannah resolved that if the Lord would grant her desire, she would give it right back to him. She made a vow, a commitment to dedicate her son to the Lord forever. So the Lord remembered Hannah, she conceived and gave birth to Samuel.
Can you imagine the joy and the elation Hannah must have felt as a result of the Lord’s faithfulness? Can you imagine the joy of finally holding her one and only precious child? That immeasurable bond between a mother and her child was now Hannah’s. Her heart bursting with a joyful gratitude that she finally had a child of her own. Samuel must have been the most precious gift she had ever received. A gift that prompted every impulse within her to hold him close and never let him go. To care for him and raise him as her own. And yet, she had made a vow. She had made a commitment. Her time with Samuel would be cut short as she knew she would have to give him to the Lord as she had promised. She took the most precious gift in her life and gave it right back to God.
There is much to be learned from Hannah’s example. We can look at the story of Hannah and be encouraged to bring our dreams and our ambitions to the Lord. What is it that you desire most right now? If you could have any prayer answered, what would you pray? If you could have any need met or any want fulfilled, what would it be? Even more importantly, if that prayer was answered, that need met or want fulfilled, would you be willing to immediately turn back around and commit it to the Lord? Every part of your life, every prayer, need or desire is given to you to be offered to God’s glory. Those moments of deep anguish are there to prompt the human heart to greater dependency and greater commitment to God. In so doing, He is glorified.
So, as we reflect on Commitment Sunday and the prayers we offer to the Lord, what commitments do you need to make? Are you taking your deepest needs and wants and surrendering them back to God that He might be glorified in your commitments? Perhaps you need the strength and resolve that Hannah conveys in her dedication of Samuel to the Lord. We are all likely to be in different seasons and phases of these prayers and commitments, but there is one thing we can do collectively. We can focus on today.
As you think through the larger, long-term and more costly commitments, would you first be willing to give yourself to Him today? Today is a gift. It is a blessing that He has entrusted to each of us. May we find the same courage and faithfulness of Hannah and give it back to Him. Let us commit this day to Him and bring Him the glory He so richly deserves. - Jerimiah Smith, Pastor