“Eat your vegetables, there are children in China starving!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase while growing up, I might be as rich as last week’s Delilah!
I was raised in the country on the farm. We had several horses, a milk cow named Bossy, chickens, and pigs. Every year my Mom planted a truck patch-sized garden with long rows of peas, butter beans, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, egg plant, turnip greens and more. For the most part, we ate only what we grew on the farm.
Growing these vegetables required work!… like keeping weeds out and daily gathering…picking peas, pulling tomatoes and corn, cutting okra, and much more. Then there was shelling the peas, shucking the corn, pealing tomatoes and all the work required to feed our family. It was hours of work all summer!
Today, I crave fresh vegetables. But back then, not so much. Between me and my younger sisters, one of us was always being told, “Eat everything on your plate.”
This week’s heroine was not willing to leave any of God’s promises on the table. In her wanting and willingness to cry out to God for help, Hannah trusted God.
Hannah had not been able to conceive a child for years, yet her husband’s other wife (a common practice in her day) had been popping out babies left and right. (Or it must have seemed that way to Hannah.) And to make her infertility worse, Peninnah was ever quick to flaunt it in Hannah’s face. But instead of responding to her tormentor, she kept her mouth shut.
Infertility has to be the one of the hardest struggles. Every month, clear proof there will be no baby. Month after month turns into year after year of disappointment. Hannah was no stranger to that pain, rooted in void.
When the priest Eli saw her crying out to God, he assumed she was drunk. Her response was:
Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. (1 Samuel 1:15-18)
Hannah refused to leave one of God’s promises on the table like uneaten vegetables left to be thrown away at the end of the meal. She trusted God and never gave up hope that He would hear her prayers. Her reverent fear of the Lord was just one more quality of her godly character.
What promises are you leaving on the table? God has prepared a table before you…set with promises.
Your struggle may not be like Hannah’s, but the truth is Jesus paid for many promises. Just like vegetables on the farm table, the work has been done and we need only to enjoy the fruits of plenty.
Like Hannah, we have to patiently and relentlessly claim them as our own.
And just maybe, we can learn a little something about our own lives.