Gratitude for Grace

October 25, 2023

Have you ever thought about Jesus’ birth and thought, “Why me?” Jesus came to this earth to save you and me. I am amazed when I try to comprehend that the God of the universe is concerned about me, and wants to be engaged with my life. As we look at the birth and celebrate Jesus this time of year, I’m inspired to want to share with others about Jesus’ love. 

Furthermore, God is seeking a relationship with each one of us. Prayer is a primary way for us to seek God in return. Do make an effort to hear God, listening to Him is just as important as engaging with Him in prayer. 

I heard a sermon recently about Hannah in 1 Samuel. Have you ever had a burden on your heart or a request for God to do something specific in your life? Perhaps you have even been at the point of desperation for God to step in and show up. Hannah was at such a point. She wanted a child for herself and her husband. Sometimes, the wait for God’s answer is as important as the miracle we receive; sometimes it is the waiting that causes us to reach out and be desperate for God. 

Who do we go to when we are in deep anguish, when our souls are desperate? God is waiting. In his book, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference, Philip Yancey writes, “Prayer is the act of seeing reality from God’s point of view.” Hannah was faithful and put her trust in God. She went to God repeatedly requesting He bless her with a child. On one instance, in her deep anguish, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly as she once again prayed for a son. Such was her state of anguish that Eli the priest thought that she was drunk. Hannah replied to him in 1 Samuel 1:15, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

God heard her prayer and answered. When I think about this story, I wonder what would have happened if Hannah had not been persistent with God? Hannah was eventually blessed by the Lord with a son, Samuel. Samuel was used by God to draw people into a relationship to Him. Hannah’s faithfulness and persistence changed her nation. 

What has Jesus called us to do? How can we be more open in our lives to receive what God wants to give to us? Jesus came to show us how to live and asked us to share with others what He has done for us.

This is my favorite time of year with two holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, that give us opportunities to spend time with friends and family. Let’s take this time to reflect on the blessings that God has given to us. Let’s be thankful to God for providing for us and His church. May we also be desperate for God’s presence in our life, taking the time to reflect on His word and listen to Him. 

By John Page