Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Beginnings

I just finished one of the most incredible and memorable weekends ever. My family and friends gathered for the memorial of my father and to celebrate the new life in my niece, Shanna, for a baby shower. A celebration of a life lived and a life yet to be lived stirs a range of emotions from deep sadness to great joy. These last few days held lots of tears and even more laughs as we fellowshipped together and shared life's celebrations.

As I prepared the devotional to dedicate my new grandniece, Olivia, I thought of one of my favorite praying mamas in the Bible, Hannah. She came to mind first because she struggled with infertility, just like Shanna did. They both prayed and prayed for little ones of their own. God answered their prayers. And in Shanna's case, the LORD "remembered her (1 Samuel 1:19)" through the modern marvel of invitro fertilization.

The times in which Hannah lived are much like our own today, when everyone does as they see fit. During the period of the Judges, the Israelites were in dire straits because they lacked leadership. The priesthood was defiled, and in those days the word of the LORD was rare; there was no sustained prophetic message from the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1), and the law of Moses was being ignored throughout the land. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

As he often did in Israel's history, God began to solve the problem by sending a baby. Babies are God's announcement that he knows the need, cares about his people, and is at work on their behalf. (Praise the LORD!) The arrival of a baby ushers in new life and a new beginning. Babies are sign posts to the future, and their conception and birth is a miracle only God can do, even if it's done in a petri dish.

To make the event seem even greater, God sometimes selects barren women to be the mothers, as when he sent Isaac to Sarah, Jacob and Esau to Rebekah, Joseph to Rachel, and Olivia to Shanna. It's an awesome fact that humanly speaking, the future of our nation, rests with the prayers of Godly women. And yet when you think about it, how much in history depends on the prayers of suffering and sacrificing people, especially mothers.

Let's pray together for new beginnings while focusing on our children, in whom our future rests, asking God to intervene and then allow him to work in our lives by surrendering all to him. Our future is secure in His strong hands. Amen!

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