A Matter of Control


Sometimes we have to decide if we will be God-centered or self-centered. Will we trust Him when He doesn't give us what we want?

Do you trust Me? Will you trust Me when I don’t give you what you long for? This seems to be the question God has been asking me (and all of us) today. 

Hannah was a real woman like you and me with an undeniable problem. Not only was Hannah childless; but the proud, catty second wife of her husband made Hannah’s life miserable. Hannah’s problem didn't seem to have an end in sight. It continued year after year 

But here’s the real clincher. Not once, but twice, the text makes it clear that the Lord was behind this. He had closed Hannah’s womb so she could not have children (1 Samuel 1:5-6).

Hannah doesn't have a lot of options at this point, but like you and me, she must choose to trust or resent God. She has to decide if she will be God centered or self-centered. 

Hannah chooses God’s way. We see her moment of decision in verse 9, when we are told that “Hannah rose.” It seems she had finally come to the place in her life where she completely surrendered to God.

And then this amazing prayer:

“O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head (v.11).”

Most of us would have ended the prayer after pleading with God for a son. But Hannah plows ahead and vows that she will give him back to the Lord all the days of her life. 

How could she pray this? Because she was God-centered. 

Oh, can you and I pray the same prayer? Can we say, “Give to me, and I’ll give right back to you”? 

How I wish I could choose to trust God once and for all and never again have to wrestle with this foundational question.

But Hannah’s life shows that dedication is tough, and surrender is ongoing. Every time Hannah felt her son kick or move in her womb, she had to surrender him again to the Lord: “Yes, Lord, he’s yours.” 

Once her son was born, she had three years with him. Three years to teach him how to tie his sandals, how to pray, how to make his bed, how to worship God. And every single day, Hannah knew she was one day closer to giving him up. 

How did she have the strength to do this? The answer lies in the focus of her life, which was God-centered, not self-centered.

So, for tonight, I surrender to Your authority, Lord. And I cry out for hand-made grace to surrender tomorrow and the next day and the next--despite the pain. I choose to trust Your heart when I cannot understand Your hand.

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