Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not mine to hold

In my women's bible study, we recently talked at length about Hannah and her incredible faith. We marveled not only at the faith and perseverance of Hannah in her steadfast prayer to God to grant her a son, but in her complete surrender of offering her son back to God after He had granted her petition. That a woman could give back to God the very gift that she had been praying for, for so very long, is just mind-boggling. Somehow, in her intense faith, she saw that the greater gift was not just that God granted her a son, but that she could then in turn give her son back to God.

When God grants us a prayer, gives us that gift for which we have been so long begging Him -- isn't it within our nature to hold that gift as tightly as possible? To cherish it closely, never let it out of our sight, and, even though subtly, hold our arms around it protectively, so that it cannot be taken away from us?

Even if it's a little thing, just the hint of the possibility of a desire fulfilled; do we snatch it up and build walls around ourselves? Say to ourselves with satisfaction, "It's about time!" Or, on the other hand, do we hover around this gift, tip-toeing softly, making sure we do not mess it up, or do anything that might destroy the pearl of happiness that stands so precariously in our midst?

It could be a new job, a longed for adventure, the hope of conceiving a child, the blossoming of a new relationship, a new found consolation in the Lord, a refreshing peace of soul. Whatever it is, it is that Evasive Thing; the missing piece to our happiness that we have pleaded for, and pleaded for, and pleaded for. And for all we know, once we get a whiff of it, we better dare not let it out of our sight, lest we never encounter the opportunity once more.

It's funny, the lengths the heart goes to define, and mold, and protect its happiness. As if these things were really ours to hold. When in reality, "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17) and it is offered to us in His perfect timing, for the glory of His name. I'm pretty sure that the sooner I realize this, and the sooner I acknowledge that everything is His, the sooner peace will prevail in my heart. As I was thinking about all of this and the little ways it is playing out in my life right now, I heard this song by Audrey Assad, "Everything is Yours." It was such a comfort and inspiration to me. A reminder to let go; to give everything back to God. The only thing that I am called to hold onto is the Love which holds me.