I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and He has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.”
1 Samuel 1:27-28
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1 Samuel 1:1-2:21
Every time I read this chapter of 1 Samuel, I grieve twice for Hannah: once for all the years she longed for a child, and once for the day she left Samuel with Eli and turned back for home. Even knowing that at the end of chapter 2 God is going to bless her with five more children, it’s heartbreaking to envision Hannah walking away from Samuel each year, knowing another full year would pass before she could see him again.
But at the same time, I understand that odd paradox: that Hannah could so quickly give back what she had longed for. I think you have to experience infertility yourself in order to plumb the depths of emotions that go hand-in-hand with that reality.
When we brought our son home from the hospital — knowing the birth father was planning to fight us for him —I prayed one constant prayer: Lord, this child belongs to You. And You alone know what is best for him. Have your way. Whenever fear would rise in me, I would stop and pray that again. Some days I prayed it from morning till night.
In His mercy, God determined that we would be best for Zac, and after that long month of waiting, the birth father’s rights were terminated, and our adoption was final. But that lesson has stayed with me, just as it did with Hannah. I had a child, but he did not belong to me. He would always be the Lord’s, and any time I had with him was a blessing.
Over the years, I’ve revised that prayer as needed.
- Lord, he’s questioning everything we’ve taught him about You. But He’s Yours and You know how to reveal Yourself; have Your way.
- Lord, I don’t know where he is tonight. But You do, and he’s Yours; have Your way.
- Lord, he’s in North Dakota filling oil tankers, and I’m afraid of the danger. But He’s yours; have Your way.
- Lord, he’s in the middle of the Bering Sea on a small crab boat. I can’t see him and I can’t protect him, but You can, and he’s Yours. Have Your way.
And for the daughter God allowed us to adopt? I’ve had similar prayers for her. No oil tankers, no Bering Sea, but plenty of her own battles, and plenty of opportunities for worry.
Parenting is hard, but it becomes easier when we remember that our children are not ours alone — they belong to the One who created them. He loves them more than we ever could; His eyes are on them when ours can’t be; He seems their end from their beginning; and He is the better parent — by far.