Judy Brandon: CNJ columnist
We unquestionably do live in uncertain times. War, terrorists’ attacks, crime, kidnappings and shootings? Life is so uncertain and dangerous at times. These three questions can help when looking at difficult times.
What can I know for sure in this life?
What should I do in the midst of life’s circumstances?
And what can I hope for?
Consider Hannah in the Old Testament. She was a good woman; she loved God and had no children. Hannah prayed year after year for a child, but she never conceived. This was a situation that society in those days didn’t have much understanding for. People viewed a woman’s inability to have a child as a sign of God’s punishment. In addition, there was no help for the aged. An older woman’s security, if she had no husband, was left to the oldest son.
Yearly Hannah went to the temple and prayed that God would bless her with a child. One day she was praying so intently and so fervently that the pastor accused her of being drunk! How embarrassing this must have been for Hannah and the pastor when she said, “I am not drunk, I am only praying. I am praying that God will give me a child.”
After some months, Hannah became pregnant. All along she had made a promise to God that if he gave her a son, she would dedicate him to God.
She did just that. Most people when they get in a tight situation make all sorts of promises to God. Then when God comes through, they renege on their promises to him. Not Hannah. When her son Samuel was born, she waited until he was weaned, and she took him to the pastor Eli to live in the temple to be a helper to Eli. Each year after that she made the trip to the temple, visited her son, and took him a new coat for the coming year.
How did Hannah deal with this difficult situation in her life? What did she know for sure? She knew that she had an advocate — a God who cared for her and heard the yearnings of her heart.
What could she know in the midst of her troubled times? By faith, she went to her spiritual roots, the steady source of balance was in her life. We all can go back to what we know is true. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:17: “And I pray that you being rooted an established in love, may have the power with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Hannah faced a most difficult time but she was rooted and grounded in her faith and it took over when everything seemed hopeless.
What could she do in the midst of life’s difficult circumstances? Life is full of circumstances and events that many times we just don’t understand, just like in Hannah’s time. But she turned to God and hope stepped in. We can turn to God and pray for our nation, its people and those affected by oppressive governments and afflicted by terrible conditions around the world.
Now the third question: For what can I hope? God takes notice when we when we study his Word. He hears us when we pray. He meets us and gives us hope for not only our present but for our future.
Even in the light of these difficult times, we can look to these questions for they have real answers.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: