Loving parents are a treasure

Published 9:53 pm Friday, May 11, 2018

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, an entirely appropriate day to recognize the special ladies in our lives. Actually, we need to recognize them and honor them every day.

In the first chapter of 1 Samuel, we read about a mother named Hannah. For many years, Hannah longed to be a mother. Her husband, Elkanah, tried to console her by saying, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than 10 sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)

Yet Hannah did weep. The pain of not being able to bear children tore at her constantly. Eventually, Hannah conceived and gave birth to Samuel. When she took him to dedicate him to the Lord, she said, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:27-28).

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Hannah’s story is instructive.

First, we see the pain of people who are unable to conceive. This is something we need to be sensitive about on Mother’s Day. There are those in our midst who would give anything to be mothers but are not.

Medical research indicates that one in five couples reports struggling with this. The numbers are probably even higher. It is a painful thing. As Michael McAfee writes, “It’s puzzling to mourn the loss of something that doesn’t happen. My grandmother went to be with the Lord last year, and people can understand mourning that loss. But to grieve the loss of an unrealized future is different.” Different, and very, very hard.

There is the grieving of an unrealized dream for the future. There are the questions and comments of people who mean well, but it is painful to be asked, “When are you going to have children?” when you are unable to conceive.

Ultimately, we must find our satisfaction in God, not motherhood or fatherhood. Only Jesus can fill the deepest longings of our lives.

For families who are blessed with children, Hannah’s dedication of Samuel provides a great model. She recognizes that her baby is a gift from the Lord: “The Lord has granted me…”

Ultimately, our children belong to God. He has given them to us to be His stewards for a season. Let us be faithful stewards, pouring God’s love into them while we can.

We are living in a culture where far too many children never see the light of day, because they are aborted in the womb. We are living in a culture where far too many are neglected or abused.

Loving parents are a treasure. Loving parents who love Jesus more than their children are an even greater treasure. That’s because it is only by putting God first that we can properly love our children.

Children desperately need homes in which Christ is at the center. They need families where Mom and Dad are an active part of a larger family, a church family, the family of God. It is there that we find lots of other mothers and fathers, and sisters and brothers. Whether we are married or single, whether we are a couple with kids or without them, we can find a loving family in the family of God.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.