1 Samuel 2:1-10
Has there ever been a time when you were brought so low that you weren’t sure you could even lift your head? Maybe it was a time when the bottom just dropped out, when you experienced loss or grief, or maybe it was the sense of loss that comes after many years of unanswered prayer, like Hannah.
Exactly five years ago today, my bottom dropped out. I went for a routine doctor’s visit, expecting my typical clean bill of health, but came out with a cancer diagnosis instead. I was the healthiest I had ever been in my life… there was no reason for it. As I wept in my car in the parking lot that day, I was overcome with grief and fear. I thought I might never get to see my little girl grow up, that this would be my last Christmas, that I would never again hear this Christmas carol or see that extended family member. To say I was overcome would be an understatement – I was drowning.
It lasted a full ten minutes, my drowning sorrow. I turned on some music and then…
I was reminded that God is still on the throne and overwhelmed with a sense of peace that could not come from anything other than the divine touch of the Holy Spirit. God didn’t make any promises that the cancer would be miraculously healed (it wasn’t), nor did He promise me that I would watch my daughter grow up and get married (so far, so good). What He DID do was comfort me in the midst of what was then the greatest trial of my life.
The months that followed were hard. I had tests and scans, bad news and good. I had many surgeries and many tears. But the one constant through it all from that one moment in the cold parking lot of the medical building was this:
I am God’s child. He LOVES me as His daughter. His plans for me (and those I love) are good. He is on the throne, and He will always act in love and kindness. His plans are good.
Would you believe that throughout the entire cancer journey I found myself speaking hope, joy, peace, and love to my family and friends? I can honestly say that December 2011 and early 2012 was one of the best times in my life, because God gave me a gift: Peace.
He did answer many fervent prayers in that time; and praise God, the cancer is in remission. I had a great recovery, and my family drew near in the midst of my storm. What I have left from that difficult time are physical scars and a lot of fond memories.
“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Isn’t God funny that way? He turns our sorrow into joy and our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11-12) and restores and redeems in His time.
Hannah’s praise comes after years and years and years and years of unanswered prayer, of weeping and sobbing and desperation for God to move. In God’s time, He did.
Similarly, God’s people waited for a Savior who would come and redeem them and restore them. In God’s time, He sent Jesus.
And now we wait in a world that is rampant with sin, sickness, hurt, and disappointment. Many of us fear. Many are anxious. Many are angry at injustices. Many of us have wounds that need healing. Good news:
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4 ESV)
Is there any better picture of God’s faithful love than the fact that He is returning to make all things right again?