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Another Devoted Mom

1 Samuel 1:10
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.

How do you get what you want?

Throwing a fit doesn’t work very often. It only makes onlookers put more space between them and you. Those tears a wasted.

But the tears of the devoted are never wasted. One who is devoted to something important sheds tears only when they cannot be held back. The face of the devoted shows strength and wisdom. Tears power down those cheeks, determined to leave tracks, determined to change what has been.

Can a strong woman stay strong when she’s being teased and irritated by an opponent? Hannah could. She went to God and trusted Him. After years of being barren, Hannah wept before the Lord and diligently prayed without a sound. Such a scene was so odd that she was seen as a drunken woman, not a prayerful one.

Hannah told the priest that she was praying out of her anguish and grief. He answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” Hannah’s tears were powerful.

She stopped weeping and trusted that God had heard her prayers. In verse 27, she told the priest when she presented her son to him, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” Then in chapter two, she gave a ten-verse prayer in praise of God. The Lord also gave Hannah three other sons and two daughters. And she saw her firstborn son, Samuel, as he grew up in the service of the Lord.

Hannah’s devotion paid off for her and for Samuel.

Devoted to Prayer

Daniel 6:13
Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.”

Daniel was one of several young men taken into the service of the king of Babylon after the king of Judah had lost a war. The young men chosen to serve the king were smart and strong and easily learned the Babylonian language.

However, Daniel was also one of the young men who was wise enough to get permission when he wanted to depart from the king’s plans. He had understanding, wisdom, and a pleasant persuasiveness that showed the king that Daniel and his friends were special. The king made it possible for Daniel and his friends to continue worshipping their God.

When the king found out that Daniel was able to help him understand his dreams because God told him what to say, the king rewarded him with gifts and high position in the kingdom. After the king died and his son became the ruler, Daniel interpreted a mystery for him and was promoted to the third highest position in the kingdom. When King Darius took over, Daniel was given high rank, with many administrators and satraps accountable to his authority.

These men found that Daniel was praying a different way, diligently praying to a different God. They encouraged King Darius to throw into the lions’ den anyone who prays to anyone other than the king. The king agreed, but was distressed to find out that Daniel had been praying to his God three times each day and had not stopped. Even though he wanted to, the king couldn’t stop them from throwing Daniel into the lions’ den, according to the king’s decree.

When King Darius found out the next morning that Daniel had survived his punishment, King Darius let Daniel out and had the men who had accused Daniel thrown into the lions’ den.

Daniel had experienced a lifetime of praying to God. He knew of God’s power and mercy. No one could do what Daniel did unless they had an intimate relationship with God. Most people don’t rely on God’s wisdom and guidance if he’s a stranger to them.

Prayer was a necessary part of life for Daniel. He knew God was with him. So if God was with him, why not talk to him? Why not access the wisdom that was involved with the creation of the universe?

When you and I are devoted to prayer as Daniel was, our relationship with God will improve. And no matter what comes against us, we can stay in contact with Almighty God. Daniel went through several threats against his life, but never doubted God’s power to save.

We can bring God’s light and life to our communities. We can be as steadfast as Daniel. But we must keep seeking God.

Devoted Builders

Genesis 6:8
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Noah was devoted to building the ark. It was his getaway vehicle in an evil world. God gave Noah clear instructions for building the ark, using cypress wood and pitch. The ark had to be big enough for all the animals and all the food they would need for an unusually long rainy season.

Because he was righteous and diligent, Noah not only got a chance to ride in the biggest boat he’d ever seen, but he also got to make it. A lot of guys these days spend hours in the garage, working on projects. Noah’s garage wasn’t nearly big enough for his project. God told him, “You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

I read that section of the chapter and immediately compared my packing list for our family vacations. If we go camping, we generally don’t take a TV or computer. We have to amuse ourselves with checking out our surroundings. My guess is that Noah and his family probably made pets of some of the animals. They didn’t have any board games for family night. They didn’t have time for it since they spent much of their time shoveling and cleaning the animal pens. I can’t imagine what they used as a garden hose to wash down the place and keep it smelling livable.

I think God took all that into consideration and gave Noah a lot more instruction than is in the Bible. Noah was successful at his enormous carpentry project because, as it says in Genesis 6:22, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” His obedience paid off in a big way.

It’s easy to see that Noah was a devoted builder, but it’s also easy to see that God is a devoted builder.

God has been devoted to building up his people for a long time. He’s dedicated beyond measure. He’s been patient with our weaknesses. He’s brought us back from our distractions. And he won’t stop until he sees the finished product he’s been building toward.

God cares deeply about us, and is probably waiting for us to turn to him with a heart like Noah’s and start doing everything “just as God commanded.”

A Devoted Mother

Matthew 15:27
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

In Matthew 15:21-28, I read the story of a woman who cried out to Jesus instead of trying to find the name of a good therapist or giving up on her daughter. She’d heard about Jesus. She knew from the reports of others that he was kind and generous. He would help her daughter.

When she finally had the opportunity to speak to him, I imagine she was a little emotional. I would’ve been. I’m a mother too. I sometimes get emotional when I want the best for my children and find getting their needs met is a little more of a struggle than I’d anticipated.

Jesus didn’t make it easy for her. He didn’t even answer at first.

The woman was determined. This opportunity was not going to pass her by. She was going to keep after it until she accomplished her goal. All she wanted was for her daughter to be well and whole. That’s what any mother wants.

When she answered him with the line about eating crumbs from the table, that got my attention. She wasn’t asking for a personal appearance from him. She didn’t moan and whine and say, “If only Jesus would come to my house and lay his hand on my daughter and speak to her and pray with everyone in the family, then everything would be okay.” She didn’t ask him to do a miracle in front of her to reassure her that he was the right one to talk to. The mother just wanted his word.

Whenever Jesus found someone who had the wisdom to simply believe what he said, he was always thrilled.