January 7, 2015

1 Samuel 2:1 Then Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

This is a fairly remarkable prayer for a number of reasons. In the first place, Hannah was probably illiterate, so it seems likely that she composed this in the months before she took little Samuel to offer him to the Lord to serve in the tabernacle at Shiloh, committing each line fully to memory. That said, this seems more like a prophetic declaration than a prayer, though it certainly starts out addressed to God. With a mother like this, it’s no wonder Samuel turned out the way he did! It took immense commitment for Hannah to surrender her son, whom she had desired so desperately, to serve the Lord from a young age, separated from her, to see him only once a year. They didn’t have Skype or Face Time back then! However, she was able to trust that the God who had healed her infertility was able to do anything. Indeed, verse 21 records that she had three sons and two daughters after Samuel. The point here, though is her fierce devotion to God. We tend to have a distorted view of God’s servants as people who live as doormats, when the Biblical record is quite the opposite. Even Jesus made a whip and drove the merchants out of the house of God! (John 2:15) God calls us to strong commitment and strong obedience, and He will supply the strength if our hearts are submitted to Him.

I’ve never been called to quite the same circumstances as Hannah, but being raised in a missionary family and now serving in Japan myself, there are actually a number of parallels. Someone once spoke to my mother about “all the sacrifices she had made to be a missionary.” Her response was that she had really made only one sacrifice, that that was proximity to family. I grew up seeing relatives only once every several years, if then, so some of my cousins are little more than names to me. That makes it seem natural enough to have physical separation right now, and at least we have the Internet for communication. The question is whether my commitment to the Lord is on the level of Hannah’s. I would like it to be so, but He is the judge.

Father, thank You for the record of so many saints who have gone before me, testing Your faithfulness and finding it absolutely reliable, just as it talks about in Hebrews 12:1. May my testimony likewise point and draw people to You, leading them to salvation and giving You the glory that You deserve. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

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