The other day we took a break from our normal routine of homeschool. With four excited children in tow, I drove to a candy factory for a behind-the-scenes tour. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to use our cameras inside the factory, so I’m unable to share pictures with you, but the point of this post isn’t really about our field trip. It’s about trusting God even without having all the answers. Let me explain.
When we arrived at the factory, it smelled wonderful: sugar, chocolate, and all the sweetness in between. If the scent of a sugary treat has the same effect as the consumption of it, then my children were living proof of that. They were bouncing off the walls with excitement. The tour began, and we were given disposable hats with the instruction that all heads must be covered at all times when inside the factory. We were then led through a long corridor. Gabriel looked left, right, and all around, taking in all the sights and smells. At one point, he looked behind him, and BAM! He hit the corner of the wall. When Gabriel gets hurt–I mean really hurt–he doesn’t react right away. At first, one may even think he is ok. But, soon the pain message reaches his brain, and his screams reach a volume that the human ear can hardly tolerate. But, it’s more than just screaming, he flails his arms and legs that it takes all my strength to hold him tight so as to prevent harm to himself and to others around him. This is what happened at the candy factory. In that narrow hallway, while a number of people were trying to walk through, Gabriel got really hurt. And the hat that was supposed to stay on his head was on the floor, waiting to be trampled on. That made a bad situation worse. “My hat! My hat!” he cried, as he tried to reach down for it, while the crowd hurried past him. When something like this happens in public, I do 4 things: attempt to bring my son down to some level of calm, try not to break down and cry, keep eye contact and my thoughts away from others around us, and PRAY. It took some time, but eventually, he calmed down, and we were able to proceed with the rest of the tour.
At the end of the day, after the kids were asleep, I had time to reflect on what happened that day and discuss it with my husband. It was a conversation we’ve had over and over again and will probably continue to have in the future. We are not satisfied with the diagnosis of a speech and language delay. It doesn’t make sense now. I can see that there are still some delays, considering his chronological age, but he is able to communicate fairly well. I have this nagging feeling that there is something else that I can’t quite put a finger on. Perhaps I’m over-thinking this, but when our other children get hurt physically or even emotionally, they’ll scream and cry, but not to the same degree as Gabriel. We are left with so many unanswered questions. Should we seek another diagnosis? How much would that cost? And if we did get another diagnosis that seems to “fit” better, what then? I’m sure there will still be many unanswered questions.
So, God reminded me of Hannah, mother of Samuel, one of the greatest prophets in Israel. She desperately wanted a child, but The Lord had closed her womb. Not only that, she was being provoked by her rival, Peninnah, about the fact that she was unable to have any children. I’m sure she had many unanswered questions about her lot in life, as we do. In her depression, she would not eat. But, in verse 9 of chapter 1 of the first book of Samuel, there is a significant turning point in the story: “Hannah rose.” She was still discouraged, still could not eat, but she got up. More than that, she got up to pray to The Lord. “She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, ‘O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.'” (1 Samuel 1:10-11)
After she poured out her heart to the Lord, the Bible says, “Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” (v. 18). She was a different person. Did her circumstances change? Did she leave carrying a child in her arms? No, not at all. The unanswered questions were still there. Nothing had changed for Hannah, except her posture before God. She trusted Him. She knew He was aware of her affliction. She believed in His power to grant her request. And, she looked beyond her own prayer request (before it was even granted), when she willingly offered her future son back to God to give glory to Him.
So in the midst of the uncertainty of our circumstances, the “Why God?” questions, and our many petitions before God, can we, like Hannah, say, “My heart exults in The Lord”? (1 Samuel 2:1)
(Photo credit 1: caseorganic)
(Photo credit 2: lifebibleverses)