Children are a gift from the Lord! From human perspective, becoming pregnant is normally as easy as falling off a log. But there are those who wish such was always the case; those who for one reason or another are experiencing barrenness, temporarily or permanently. Hannah was one woman who had been barren for a long time. She was one of two wives of a man named Elkanah in the Old Testament. The other wife was Peninnah, and she had borne to Elkanah many children, both sons and daughters.
Hannah herself was a devout believer who prayed earnestly and continuously to have a child, namely, a son. The Scripture tells us the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb. If He closed wombs, He likewise opened wombs. This passage in 1 Samuel teaches this truth very clearly. Peninnah had borne many children because her womb was opened by the Lord. Hannah had been unable to become pregnant; this also was the Lord’s doing.
Is this believable? I imagine there are many who say it is only a matter “of the birds and the bees. It is simply a biological matter which men and women and the working of their biological equipment accomplish on their own.
This passage and other biblical passages give another rationale. They say giving birth to a child or more is “of the Lord. You say, “How can God be involved in the billions of births throughout the earth over all history? Well, how does He number the hairs of your head? Every single head? How does He follow with His eyes every human creature on the face of the earth? How does He know when any one sparrow falls to the ground?
The concepts of “all-powerful and “all-knowing are incomprehensible to us. Such is beyond even our imaginations. Yet our God is declared to be such! The Bible reveals this to our finite, inquisitive minds. Faith either accepts this inspired revelation of God or it does not. And faith must draw us to the knowledge of God. The creation itself declares God is! Yet there are those who deny what the creation shouts. Their ears become deaf to both the thunderous as well as the still, small voice of the stupendous creation in which we dwell.
The historical story of Hannah and Peninnah teach us the truths of Psalm 139 and Psalm 51. God does not just create the inward fetal parts of David, but this is true of all. Psalm 139 and Psalm 51 are universal statements of mankind. We are created individually by God and universally fallen in sin; we are universally brought into being by God, and hence all, every one, accountable to God.
Children are a gift of the Lord and this whole manifestation ought to be a marvelous wonder to you who give birth. Parents should stand in the place of adoration of God that they are so blessed to bring forth an immortal being; not a being to be trifled with, nor ungrateful for, but a child who is unique and eternal, one who was given by God, especially to you, and one to be returned to Him as an adoring child of their Heavenly Father, just as their parents.
The whole continually-evolving event, filled with myriad “ups and downs, tears mixed with great joys, wonders and mysteries requiring great faith in the Lord, and enduring perseverance in a God who is a promise-keeper should cause you, like Hannah, to always give these children back to Him. Maybe not as Hannah, taking Samuel to Eli after weaning to raise in the temple, but continually putting them by prayer in the care of the Lord. Hannah’s once barren womb was opened multiple times more after she kept her pledge to bring her firstborn to the Lord, in the care of Eli.
Your children are indeed a gift of God! Never forget His place in your and your child’s lives, nor the reason He made you a steward in their young lives.
“Gracious Savior, gentle Shepherd, our little ones are dear to Thee; gathered with Thine arms and carried in Thy bosom, may they be sweetly, gently, safely tended, from all want and danger free.
Tender Shepherd, never leave them from Thy fold to go astray; by Thy look of love directed, may they walk the narrow way; thus direct them and protect them, lest they fall an easy prey.
(1st and 2nd verses of Jane Leeson’s hymn, “Gracious Savior, Gentle Shepherd, 1842)
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