This week I started 1 Samuel. Hannah's story is so real and raw to me. The kind that just gets you in the gut. This book wastes no time hitting you with the force of the emotion Hannah felt. By the third paragraph, she is weeping with bitterness of soul. "Oh lord if only you will look upon your servant's misery...". So gut wrenchingly honest about what she was feeling. There were pieces of my soul that absolutely cried along with her the past couple of mornings. I understand where she's coming from. Crying out to God like that from the most desperate places of your soul.
I've never really gone into (and honestly probably won't) all that went into me praying for Jude. It was the prayer of the desperate. It was the prayer of someone longing to tangibly feel and know God's grace. Every now and then, you will catch me refer to Jude as my 'atonement child'. And I really do mean that. He has saved my life in more ways than I can probably ever understand. There is probably no single person in this world that has touched my life in quite the same way as he has. And certainly no person or gift that has ever proven to me that the grace of God existed for me.
Not to say that I wasn't a Christian before Jude or didn't receive God's grace before then. I definitely was. But based on different things, I just couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that God really did love me. That he loved me more than just enough to save me. That he loved me and actually wanted to give me good things. I struggled (still do) with the idea of God wanting to bless my life for no reason other than He loved me for such a long time. Jude sort of proved how deep God's love was for me. The moment I knew it was oh so deep and real. I know how Hannah felt. And I guess that's why this story was so moving.
Of course, it doesn't stop there. Hannah doesn't just take this gift from God and squeeze every drop of it out for herself. She opens, receives, and quickly gives it back. What kind of humble and grateful and fully aware of the holiness of God heart does it take to want something so desperately, get it, and then let it go like that? I can't imagine doing that. So much faith.
I'm thankful God isn't going to ask me to give up Jude in that kind of way, but I do know He will always call me to trust Jude in His hands over mine. I don't know what tomorrow holds for me or for Jude. I do know I find great comfort in knowing "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." (1:27) I know God doesn't answer the prayers of the desperate and he doesn't fulfill promises to then turn around and ruin lives. I know God's plans for me and for Jude are for good. I pray desperately now that God would help me raise this wonderful gift to be godly and just in love with Christ and that he sees authentic, gospel centered life through me, even though I fail him constantly. And for now, that's where my trust comes in. I have to trust that God gave me this child, and God will help me make this child into the person He wants him to be.
"So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." (1:28)