By Judy Brandon: CNJ columnist
At this Thanksgiving time, our nation faces situations and uncertain times like never before. Difficult financial times have left people jobless and homeless. Rumors of wars and a horrendous act by a gunman even in the heart of Texas dominate the news. During this Thanksgiving season, remember we have sure answers in these frightful and uncertain times.
Consider these three questions that have a hopeful perspective: What can I know for sure in this life? What should I do in the midst of life’s difficult circumstances? What can I hope for?
Hannah in the Old Testament was a woman who had no children, and she prayed year after year to conceive but never did. In those days, people believed that the inability to have children was God’s judgment on that individual. Also, having children was necessary for help in old age if a woman’s husband was dead.
Yearly Hannah went to the temple and prayed that God would bless her with a child. Finally, she conceived. All along she had made a promise that if she had a son, she would give that son back to God.
Most people in tight situations make all sorts of pledges to God and then when God grants those requests, they renege on their promises to him. But not Hannah. Samuel was born, and then when he was older, she took him to the pastor Eli to live in the temple to be his helper.
How did Hannah deal with this difficult situation in her life? What did she know? She knew that she had an advocate, a God who cared for her and a God who heard the yearnings in the very deepest recesses of her heart. She prayed.
What can we know in these troubled times? By faith, we can go back to our spiritual roots and get our bearings. Hannah did. She knew what 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: “I pray that you being rooted and 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 test, and she was rooted and grounded in her faith, and that took over when everything was so bleak.
What can I do in the midst of life’s difficult circumstances? Things happen in life that we don’t understand. Hannah turned to God by faith and prayed, and hope took over. We are commanded to pray for our leaders in government and our president. We can pray for the shooters and terrorists that God will deal with them miraculously. We can turn to God through obedience, reading the Bible and praying.
What happened as a result of Hannah’s prayers? Samuel grew up to be a mighty man of God. He became one of Israel’s greatest leaders who helped turned the country back to God. The result of one woman’s prayers was wide-sweeping.
For what can I hope? God takes notice when we are obedient, when we study his Word and he hears us when we pray. He meets us and offers us eternal life. That is the assurance for what we hope. He meets us and gives us hope for not only our present but also for our future.
Even in the light of these difficult times, we can look to these questions, for they have real answers in God. That is good news at Thanksgiving.