Saturday, July 12, 2014

IT IS NOT FOR OURSELVES by Carter Conlon

The Scriptures tell us that Hannah, in her most desperate hour, finally “vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (1 Samuel 1:11).

That was what God was waiting for! You see, oftentimes when we receive an answer too quickly, our human tendency is to take the answer home. Sure, we may testify of how God was faithful and blessed us, but ultimately we will take the blessing and consume it on ourselves. That is why God often must wait until we come to a point of desperation just as Hannah did—a place where we purpose in our heart to take that answer and give it back to the Lord for His glory.

At the time, Hannah had no idea that this holy desperation was what God was producing in His own people as His answer to the peril her country was facing. What she did know, however, was that there would be a cost accompanying her vow. Imagine how difficult it must have been, knowing that the priesthood was completely backslidden and the nation was in declension, to still choose to bring her son—the desire of her heart she had prayed for so long—and commit him to the temple.

I can picture what Hannah’s neighbors must have been saying as she left for the temple that last time with her little boy. “What in the world are you doing, Hannah? God finally answered your prayer and gave this child to you!” It is the same thing that you and I will fight along the way—the false reasoning; the advice of those who would never walk such a journey.

Somehow Hannah had the sense to know that the life Christ blesses us with is not for ourselves but rather for others. It was something she realized back in the temple when she first made that vow to the Lord, promising to bring back to Him the life He would give. In fact, it was at that point that Hannah went away with her countenance no longer sad (see 1 Samuel 1:18).


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Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.