by Lt. Colonel Evelyn Hunter –
Hannah was much loved by her husband, although she had not given birth to a child. In the time of the Old Testament, a childless woman was considered a failure and a social embarrassment for her husband. Hannah may have had good reason to feel discouraged and bitter, but rather than giving up hope, she prayed. She brought her problem to God.
It can be difficult to pray in faith when one feels ineffective, but as Hannah discovered, prayer opens the way for God to work.
Her prayer was for a son. The prayer also included a promise that she would give the boy back to God. Hannah was desperate enough that she was willing to strike a bargain with God. God accepted her promise, and to her credit, Hannah did her part even though it was painful. We do well to be careful with our promises to God, and we must be careful that we fulfill those promises made. God keeps his promises and he expects us to keep ours.
To do what she promised, Hannah gave up what she wanted most–her son– and presented him to the priest to serve in the house of the Lord. Samuel was a life from God and Hannah was simply returning him to God.
There are lessons to be learned from Hannah. She first of all loved God in her heart, so much so that she was willing to let God have her greatest treasure. She had influence. Samuel’s first ideas about God came from his mother. Although he was young, Samuel trusted her judgment and was willing to go and live in the temple. She was a mother who would sacrifice; she showed unselfish devotion; she planted courage in the heart of her son.
Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. He grew taller and continued to gain favor with the Lord and with the people. I think that if there had been a day designated as Mother’s Day, he would have stood ‘and called her blessed.’ (Proverbs 31:28a)
As you read this, Mother’s Day is fresh in our memory. Have you given thought to how very special the day is? I admit that, for some years, I have not been as mindful of the day as I might have been. You see, my mother has been with the Lord since June 30, 1983. Lately, however, I find myself thinking of her, and reflecting on days past …
I remember the times of hurt, and how she was able to say or do something in a way which made it better. I remember her acceptance of me, even when I was unwilling to accept myself. I remember her love for me, even when I thought myself to be unlovable. I remember her telling me how capable I was, even when I was sure that I was incapable.
Mother had made a promise to God early in her life. It was a promise to not only love God, but to serve him. She became an officer in The Salvation Army, married and had two children, a son and daughter.
When I was small I was dedicated to God. Her love for God caused her to give over to him all that was hers, including her husband and her children. It was her desire that her family understand and have such love for God. It was her desire that I understand and have such love for God. Throughout the years of her life she demonstrated her love for God and me by holding me before God in her continuous prayers for me.
My mother, Evelyn Jewel Parsons Hunter, was not perfect. She was, however, a child of God. She made her share of mistakes. As a child of God she knew the unconditional love of God. She was loved unconditionally and was able to love me unconditionally. Mother was, and continues to be, an inspiration to me. She always encouraged me to reach for the best whether in education or in service to others. She always encouraged me to reach beyond myself, to be better than I thought I could be.
I wish I could give her one more hug and tell her how much I love her. I can’t. However, you can give your mom a hug and tell her how much you love her. You can do it on the special day we call Mother’s Day; you can do it any day of the year. Do it! And do it often! She deserves it.
As I believe Samuel would have done for his mother, I rise to call my mother blessed, and to praise her for her fear of the Lord. I thank God that she was my mother.