“She (Hannah) said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid and earnestly remember, and not forget.’”
I Samuel 1: 11
“A Father Who Never Forgets”
“True prayers are like those carrier pigeons which find their way so well; they cannot fail to go to heaven, for it is from heaven that they came; they are only going home.”
C. H. Spurgeon
What have I earnestly asked God to remember in my life and not to forget?
“God does not keep office hours.”
A. W. Tozer
“Our great matters are little to God’s infinite power, and our little matters are great to his Father love.”
Donald Grey Barnhouse
My favorite poet, Emily Dickinson penned these words called,
“A thought went up my mind today
That I have had before,
But did not finish, -- some way back,
I could not fix the year.
Nor where it went, nor why it came
The second time to me,
Nor definitely what it was,
Have I the art to say.
But somewhere in my soul, I know
I’ve met the thing before;
It’s just reminded me – twas all
And came my way no more.”
I really enjoy these insightful words for they convey, in a most beautiful way, how thoughts fly in and out of our minds like birds, suddenly taking wing and flying away.
The other day I encountered this exact situation as I was conveying a story to Jim. Away I went giving him every detail of my little tale, when all of a sudden, I drew a blank. I couldn’t remember anything. I completely forgot what I was saying. Has this ever happened to you?
Maybe it’s the fact that today we desperately try to cram so much into our lives, something’s going to escape. Too much is really too much! And so, unnecessary things and even people, quietly slip away. Recently, I read a survey which claimed that every ten years, we lose about 30% of the people we had in our lives. It’s not that they die, they just exit our daily living. As I thought about this claim, I decided to get my personal address book, which I’ve had for over ten years, and go through all the names and addresses and see if I was still in regular contact with those whom I called friends and family. Much to my utter dismay, over 30% of the names and addresses fell under the following categories:
1. Someone died.
2. Someone moved.
3. Someone lost contact.
And believe it or not, there were a couple of names I couldn’t even remember who the people were or how they found their way into my life.
I found this exercise rather disturbing for it made me wonder, “How many people say, ‘Who’s Dorothy,’ when they are going through their own personal list of friends.”
We all have a longing to be remembered. We want to believe we matter. We don’t want to believe someone will forget us and yet, it happens all the time. I especially find it uncomfortable to meet someone who appears to know me well, while I stand silent, wondering who in the world this person is and where I met them. It really hurts if you run into someone you were once emotionally close to and they act as though they have no idea who you are. That really stings!
I think our human longing for remembrance helps us better understand Hannah’s initial words in her prayer to her heavenly Father.
First, we need a little history! Hannah and her husband had come to Shiloh for many years. This was not the first time Hannah asked God to fulfill her longing – a desire to have a baby. If you and I had been in Hannah’s shoes, I wonder how we would have interpreted God’s silence? I think I could easily have come to the conclusion God had forgotten about me. Out of sight – out of mind. This wasn’t irrational thinking on Hannah’s part. While Hannah was tormented, God’s silence was deafening.
Yet in our text today, Hannah, who was emotionally and spiritually broken open before her heavenly Father, even allowed herself to be exposed additionally by earnestly pleading with God to “remember His handmaid,” and then as if to underscore her desire she added, “Don’t forget me!”
Yesterday, we learned through Hannah’s experience that God is able to handle our emotional outpouring to Him, no matter how over-the-top we may perceive our outburst to be.
Today I want to look at the honesty that permeates the words of Hannah. I believe that what kept Hannah within the circle of her Father’s love during the times of hardship in her life and the times of silence in God’s response was that communication with her Father wasn’t a once a year happening for Hannah. It was a daily occurrence – a regular way of life. Author Wayne Simsic, in his book, Pray Without Ceasing: Mindfulness of God in Daily Life, describes what I call “Hannah Living” this way: “When we wake up and remember that God lives at the center of our being, (it) changes our perception of prayer…we see prayer as ongoing attentiveness. In that sense prayer is an attitude, a way of living. Rather than creating a corner of our life with ourselves as the center, we choose to make God central.”
This is exactly what is portrayed in the life of Hannah, a woman abused and tortured emotionally who withstood a tidal wave of pain because the core of her life held the immense strength of her Father, who even in His silence was the stabilizing force she held onto. Even when emotionally vulnerable, with confidence Hannah went to God, knowing ahead of time, that He would never forget her – ever! Doesn’t this give you the same confidence, too! You have a Father who remembers and never forgets.
“A sovereign Protector I have,
Unseen, yet for ever at hand,
Unchangeably faithful to save,
Almighty to rule and command,
He smiles, and my comforts abound;
His grace as the dew shall descend;
And walls of salvation surround
The soul He delights to defend.”
Augustus M. Toplady
“O Lord my God,
teach my heart where and how to seek you,
where and how to find you.
Lord, if you are not here but absent,
where shall I seek you?
But you are everywhere, so you must be here,
why then do I not seek you?...
Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height,
for my understanding is in no way equal to that,
but I do desire to understand a little of your truth
which my heart already believes and loves.
I do not seek to understand so that I may believe,
but I believe so that I may understand.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.