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Thursday, January 23, 2014

She left Samuel there

By Heidi


In those days,
Hannah brought Samuel with her,
along with a three-year-old bull, and ephah of flour, and a skin of wine,
and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh.
After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull, 
Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said:
"Pardon, my lord!
As you live, my lord,
I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD."
She left Samuel there.

  Sm 1:24-28

"She left Samuel there"

That last line is a difficult one for me to read. Did he cry? Did she long to take him back? Why would such a sacrifice be needed? This child, Samuel, factors big in salvation history and he is close to the Lord in a mysterious way! He hears the Lord and he responds to His voice, maybe it is because his mother's generosity and trust in the Lord have removed obstacles of fear and doubt.  Me on the other hand, well, my fear of pain as well as my satisfaction with the world sometime prevent me from really listening to the Lord and from wholly offering myself to Him.  As I struggle with that last line, I am being asked to open my heart, to feel the longing and sorrow Hannah must have had in leaving her much loved son and trust in the mysterious majesty of God!  A sacrifice made with trusting love is re-payed with unfathomable generosity that flows from generation to generation.

Withhold nothing from God!

Read Hannah's canticle to God after she has left Samuel with Eli.  Though her sacrifice was costly, she knows God is at work.  Hannah's canticle foreshadows Mary's, who also holds nothing back from God. Neither woman lets the fear of pain or gnawing anxiety over impending loss harden their hearts or dampen their joy. They do not protect themselves from their sorrow by withholding their love. This makes the pain of their loss more intense I think, yet it also disposed them to receive the intense love of God all the more. Their whole lives are an offering to God and their hearts are always in trusting prayer. They understand that all that they have is God's and that nothing can be withheld from Him. They trust in The Lord who fulfills His promises to even the barren, or a lowly young women of Nazareth.

Continue reading at Heidi's blog  Journey to Wisdom.

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