The Big Picture

The Big Picture
by Monica MacDonald OLM, Slamannan Parish Church, Falkirk Presbytery
God’s gracious response can be seen flowing out from the childless Hannah’s petitions as she is blessed with the birth of a son she names Samuel. Hannah’s greatest desire in life was to give birth to a child. She trusted God. She understood that only He could fulfil her deepest hunger so she brings her petitions to God and God answers her fervent prayer.

Then Hannah does something many mothers would struggle to do. She rests in her own vow to God. We find no anxiety in her mother’s heart – rather we find an upwelling of grateful thanksgiving after she leaves her son, her gift from God, in the Temple in the care of the priest Eli.

Hannah did not lose her son – she gained much more than she asked for – she gained a confidence in God. He had heard her prayers, he had blessed her!

Like Hannah, we too can have confidence in God to bless us; to hold our very lives in his hands. We pray, God answers, and we respond. God’s plan for us, his direction, our service, our thanksgiving. That is the big picture.

Hannah’s praise and thanksgiving are an act of joyful worship which expresses her confidence in God’s sovereignty: “My heart rejoices in the Lord,” (verse 1) “There is no one holy like the Lord… there is no Rock like our God” (verse 2).

In our ever-changing world it is difficult to find something solid to hold onto. Hannah’s expression of God as a Rock – firm, strong, unchanging, always present, is a lesson for us that if we look at the bigger picture, at the whole love and grace of God, we will find in Him the joy and the peace we are seeking.

 

Lord God,

We give you thanks for this life and all its blessings –

for simple joys; for laughter; for tears,

We give you thanks for your protection around us

We thank and praise you Lord God

for trials that teach us to trust in you.

In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.

 

1 Samuel 2: 1 – 10
1 Then Hannah prayed and said:

‘My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

2 ‘There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 ‘Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

4 ‘The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 ‘The Lord brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
7 The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and makes them inherit a throne of honour.

‘For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
on them he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

‘It is not by strength that one prevails;
10     those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

‘He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.’

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