March 29, 2016

1 Samuel 2:21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

This is “the rest of the story” for Hannah. Because she was willing to release her firstborn to the Lord, He blessed her abundantly with more children. Since her childlessness had been her big problem before, this was blessing indeed. Meanwhile for Samuel, the biggest issue was that he didn’t have a good example of parenting, and in consequence didn’t do a very good job with his own sons. (1 Samuel 8:1-3) However, Eli apparently treated him quite well, and he doesn’t seem to have suffered. Rather, he grew up with an awareness of God that was perhaps unique in his day, and in consequence became the first great prophet after Moses. And that was truly blessing indeed, not only for him but for the whole nation. Hannah didn’t know that would happen when she prayed so earnestly for a child, but unintended consequences can include good things as well as bad. We really can’t know all the ripples our words and actions will cause, but God sees the end from the beginning. We are to be faithful and obedient to God, letting Him straighten out all the lines of cause and effect, trusting that His plans are always for our benefit. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I have never been very big on planning, and at times I have suffered for it. The secular proverb, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail,” has some real truth to it! However, many of the major events of my life have been things for which I could not plan, but God has been more than gracious. I am to be faithful in planning and preparation, but that must always be with the awareness that God has the last word. James 4:13-16 is very much to the point here. My planning needs to be logical and thorough, but in full submission to God, allowing Him to change my plans at any time and in any way. Frankly, I don’t always respond well when He does that! However, as He has made it clear to me, He’s smart and I’m not, so I need to trust Him fully and rest, relax, and rejoice.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I’m in the middle of helping someone with some major plans in his life, and I need Your wisdom and guidance. Actually, people come to me for counseling and advice pretty frequently. Keep me from answering any of them glibly out of my own head. Rather, help me turn them to You, because only You know the end from the beginning, and Your plans are always best. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

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