I really enjoyed the snow we got today. I especially enjoyed watching my son Dean’s reaction to the snow. He was mesmerized, he looked outside with such awe and wonder. He would not even eat breakfast, he was so excited about going outside. There is something beautiful that happens when it snows. The world as we know it transforms and turns into something different, something more beautiful.
The snow blankets imperfections and makes everything look perfect, it makes everything look still. Snow makes us stop the normal schedules of our lives so that we can take the opportunity to appreciate what is always around us. Each year, like a little kid, I hope for snow. I relish in the sight of beautiful snow falling peacefully from the sky.
In our Scripture for this Sunday from 1 Samuel 1: we hear the story of a woman named Hannah who hoped for something more than anything in the world. She hoped to have a baby boy. She had tried to get pregnant, but she was barren. Here we find her crying out to God and her pastor. She was so distraught that her pastor thought she was drunk.
Have you ever hoped for something so intently that you could not focus on anything else? Perhaps it was the livelihood of yourself, your spouse, your children or your friends? Hannah was consumed with grief over her barrenness. She could not eat, she could not sleep, and she was being taunted by another wife of her husband for her inability to have children.
She was in the depths of despair. If you have ever struggled with infertility or known anyone who has, it is said that this type of pain is some of the deepest you can feel. These feelings are consuming and run the gamut from longing to hoping, to losing hope, to being angry with God and each other. So many people do not share their struggle with infertility because they are embarrassed or they cannot find the words to even start to share. They think something is wrong with them, when in actually there is nothing wrong with them. So many different things can cause infertility and sometimes there is no explanation for why it occurs. I have journeyed with many friends and parishioners in their struggle with infertility and it is excruciatingly painful to watch someone you love go through it.
So here Hannah sat bargaining with God. I am sure we have all made these bargaining prayers with God. Prayers that say, “Help me this time God and I promise I will be a better Christian.” This is all Hannah could think of, this was her desperate prayer. Hannah did not give up hope in this desperate moment of her life and neither should we.
People ask me all the time why I decided to become a pastor. First I tell them, “God called me to be a pastor, so I don’t really have a choice, but to be a pastor.” But then I tell people “I have the best job in the world because I get to remind people that there is always hope through our faith in Jesus Christ.”
Come this Sunday to be reminded of the hope that is always available to us through our faith in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:23).
Lord, today we pray for those who have experienced infertility, or those currently experiencing infertility. We pray these people know that they are whole persons, that there is not something wrong with them, that they have nothing to be embarrassed about. That they are beautifully and wonderfully made by you. We pray you take away any shame felt about infertility so that we can share with one another the deepest pain of our hearts, so that we can be there for one another while we cry out to God in desperation. Help us to view the value of others, not by the things they produce in life: like children, or success, or material possessions, but in and of themselves because they are your creation. Thank you for hearing us and our desperate prayers to you and thank you for answering our prayers. Help us to continue to sit with those who feel their prayers have gone answered and to offer your comfort and peace to them. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
- Image used with permission from sharefaith.com.