"Hannah said, ‘May your servant (handmaid) find favor in your eyes.' Then she went her way and ate something and her face was no longer downcast. She was radiant."
I Samuel 1: 18, The Message
"A Radiance About Her"
"Surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!"
What has brought me joy in my life?
Has anyone ever described me as a "radiant" person?
"The joy of a spirit is the measure of its power."
Ninon de Lenclos
"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?"
The words above were penned by a deeply religious mother who lost one son in World War II and two of her other sons to assassins' bullets. One might easily think Rose Kennedy had little to be happy about, but instead, she chose to find great solace in a life deeply rooted in prayer.
Prayer was also the key to Hannah's life. It is how she expressed the most painful moments of her life as well as those times of greatest joy. And after Eli's words, acknowledging God's blessing upon her life, the Bible says that Hannah began to eat again, and as The Message Bible so descriptively shares, Hannah was, "radiant." She had a glow about her - and it was a heavenly glow of a promise fulfilled. A life complete and whole. After the pain there was happiness. After the sorrow came joy. After the rain, the sun shown brightly.
In her poem, "A New Day," Marla Visser created a word picture for us when she wrote:
"The world is clean - washed by rain, fresh and new, smelling of damp earth, green grass and spring; and I feel as if life were beginning again for me, that like the willows, I have renewed my bones with fledgling leaves. My face turned upward to welcome the rain; and I, for all my years, am newly born, seeing the world with wondering eyes."
This is the joy of heaven that infused the life of Hannah as the Father she trusted in through her darkest days, brought her into the light. And it wasn't just that Hannah got what she asked for, it was that she got what was best for her. This is such an important point for you and me to remember during the deluge of rain in our own lives.
If like Hannah, we will rely on our Father, depending upon Him for the right answer at the right time, we can be assured that His solution will be the right solution.
Bridgette Taylor underscores this thought in her prayer, "Beauty For Ashes" "You said You would give me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness…Dear God, I am trusting You to bring something good out of this."
For all of us, the "this" of our pain is something different. The "this" that kept Hannah from eating and broke her heart was the emptiness she felt from an unanswered prayer for the child she longed for. In your own life, the "this" may be for a loving mate or a fulfilling job or for family reconciliation. Whatever the "this" is, we are promised that while weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning. You can count on it, the sun will rise in your life.
"Joy is the heavenly "OKAY' of the inner life of power."
"Instead of allowing yourself to be so unhappy, just let your love grow as God wants it to grow; just seek goodness in others, love more persons more; love them more unselfishly, without thought of return. The return, never fear, will take care of itself."
"Grant to us, O Lord, the royalty of inward happiness, and the serenity which comes from living close to Thee. Daily renew in us the sense of joy, and let the eternal Spirit of the Father dwell in our souls and bodies, filling every corner of our hearts with "radiance" and grace; so that, bearing about with us the infection of good courage, we may be diffusers of life, and may meet all ills and cross all accidents with gallant happiness, giving Thee thanks always for all things."
Robert Louis Stevenson
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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