Saturday, June 7, 2014

Step Two – Advice For Graduates

He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.
“For the pillars of the earth are THE LORD’S,
And He has set the world upon them.
He will guard the feet of His saints,
But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.
“For by strength no man shall prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.”
– 1 Samuel 2:8-10
When Hannah wanted a child, she first grieved that she couldn’t have one.  A child meant that she had a future, a role to play, a job if you will.  It meant having someone she could care for and love, even more than she loved her husband. In her desperation, she cried, she couldn’t eat, she was miserable because she wanted what she could not have. 
Lack will do that to you.  It’ll put you in a place where you cannot see how you can gain what you need.  But that’s exactly where we need to be sometimes to move to step two.

Hannah’s step two was as ours should be when we have grieved over our desires.  She went to the house of the Lord and prayed.  Now some will say that this should be step one.  But as it proved in Hannah’s life, her gratitude towards God came from the misery of that not being step one.

And because of her misery, the desire of her heart, and her feeling of utter desperation, her prayers were so emotional that the priest thought she was drunk! But it didn’t matter what the priest thought.  What mattered was what God heard.  And God did hear her misery, and her promise that if He gave her a son, she would return the child to His service.  From that emotional prayer time, a baby, Samuel, was granted to Hannah.  Samuel went on to be one of the great priests of the Old Testament.

We’ve just seen several high schools and colleges celebrate graduation.  It’s a time of happiness, celebrating a wonderful accomplishment.  But sometimes when one door of your life ends and another opens, you can feel confusion and misery.  When leaving school it’s easy to feel that “what will become of me?” worry.

Not everyone is awarded a scholarship.  Not everyone has a path laid out before them when the doors of school close.  But we all have a plan in God’s eye – each and every one.  He says that His plans for each of us is to give us a “hope and a future”.  Just because you don’t see the path doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Listen to the words of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 after she had baby Samuel, knowing God had answered her prayers.  She says that He has raised her from the dust, brought her out of the ash heap.  Ashes were used for mourning, a time of grief and pain.  She says that even the world rests on pillars that belong to the Lord.  Consider that.  He owns the world – every job, every company, every companion, everything in this round ball of dirt are His.

She goes on to say that He directs the feet of “His saints”, those that believe in Him, and that those that don’t will sit silently in darkness.  Darkness, throughout the Bible, is a void without God, and without hope. 

Then she says what is most important for you to understand.  Listen to her words:  “For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.” 

You cannot of your own strength get through your life.  Yes, I know you’re wanting to beomce independent, to do it all for yourself.  But apart from God, you can do nothing of true worth(John 15:5).  Apart from God, you become His adversary, and “He will thunder” against you.

What matters most in life is not the college you attend or the job offer you accept.  All of these will put you on a journey in life.  And in your life, your days will be spent doing something, even if it is just passing time. 

But if you choose not to rely on your own strength, to turn it over to God in prayer and choose to follow the path He provides, there’s a different future.  It is an exalted and anointed future for those that follow Him. 

How do you know which path to take?  Is it Western or U of L?  Is it Nashville or Atlanta?  Is it marriage or more dating?  Turn it over to God in prayer!  Pray as Hannah prayed, open yourself up to God emotionally, and pray with desperation for an answer.  Pray until the answer becomes an open door with nothing but hope and a clear future.  That’s what God has promised.  There’s no confusion or grief in following His plan when you’ve prayed for that open door.


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