The Hand That Rocks the Cradle ...

    February 06, 2020 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza

    Americans are obsessed with their appearance more than ever before. Obsessing over your appearance can be quite unhealthy, leading to anxiety, depression and eating disorders. Sixty percent of adult women have negative thoughts about their appearance each week, compared to thirty-six percent of men.

    Appearance worries impact moms even more. Seventy three percent of moms regularly worry about their appearance, compared to 65 percent of women without children. Some women say that selfies and other online photos make them feel more confident about their appearance, while others say that these social media make them feel more self-conscious.

    Is it any wonder that cosmetic surgeries and cosmetic procedures are on the rise?

    There were over 11 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed in the United States alone in 2013. Some people are more concerned about how they appear than how they really are. Cosmetics have become more important than character. It is unwise to invest everything in your body, and neglect your very soul.

    At one time in history, a woman's self-worth was not wrapped up in her appearance but on whether she was a mother. If a woman couldn't have a baby, society considered her worthless and punished by God. The Bible records the story of a young woman named Hannah. She was childless and miserable. Her husband loved her, but in those days he took another wife to ensure that there would be children to carry on. Hannah's rival wife was cruel. When the family went to worship at the annual feast, Hannah's rival provoked her and brought her to tears. She refused to eat. How could she eat when salt was being rubbed in her wounds by the woman who was competing for their common husband's love?

    Hannah didn't know it, but God was going to give her a son who was destined for greatness. Hannah would be part of a great move of God that began at the birth of a little child to be named Samuel. Samuel would lead a nation, anoint kings, even King David. David's throne would lead to an everlasting kingdom. This kingdom continues to this very day and will never end. It is the throne of King Jesus who now sits at the right hand of God and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

    Hannah's misery came to a head one year as the family worshiped at the tabernacle. The Bible records, "Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD's temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, 'O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'"(1 Samuel 1:9b-11)

    Hannah dedicated her future son to God. It may seem at first like she was bargaining with God, but she was not. This was a crucial moment. Hannah's son would be a mighty leader of Israel. He would be devoted and dedicated to serving God, and God would do mighty things through him. This was God's will for this child. Before Hannah could have this special child, God needed to prepare her. The Lord must do something in us before He will do something through us.

    Hannah came to the point of consecration. In faith, she would give to God her son, the only son she thought she would ever have. Think about that! If she had not been prepared at the point of desperation, she would have certainly not accepted that she would

    give her one and only son back to God. Consecration and surrender to God is part and parcel of saving faith. We yield our all to God, even our children, and He uses us in ways that we could never even imagine --- all to the delight of our souls!

    The LORD remembered Hannah. In the course of time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him." Hannah dedicated her precious son to God. We must not only dedicate ourselves but also our children to the Lord. Your child is a gift from God. The greatest thing you can do for your child is raise him or her to revere and respect God, and pray that he or she receives salvation at an early age and serves the Lord for a lifetime. It is not how much money you leave your kids, its whether you leave them a legacy of Biblical faith. True faith is forever, and is more precious than gold or silver.

    Hannah said, "'I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me 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.' And he worshiped the LORD there." (1 Samuel 1:27-28)

    God cares about His people and uses mothers who care about what God cares about. Hannah was such a mother. She was part of the mission of God. Mothers must know the potential that is in their child in the service of God. Having a child is not the only role of a mother. Raising a child is. "The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom," said minister Henry Ward Beecher. The great British evangelist John Wesley said, "I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England."

    God blessed Hannah beyond her imagination. "The LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD." (1 Samuel 2:21) Samuel became great as he led Israel to King David which led the world to King Jesus.

    Mothers, sisters, young women, you never know the divine plans and great potential there is in the child or grandchild or great-grandchild you hold in your arms and you love with all your heart. Teach them to know and fear and love the Lord. Introduce them to King Jesus. Teach them the Bible, not old wives tales, and encourage them to continue in precious Biblical faith (2 Timothy 3:14-15) And realize, in one very real sense, that "the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world." Consider this old verse by American poet William Ross Wallace:

    Infancy's the tender fountain,

    Power may with beauty flow,

    Mother's first to guide the streamlets,

    From them souls unresting grow--

    Grow on for the good or evil,

    Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;

    For the hand that rocks the cradle

    Is the hand that rules the world.

    Woman, how divine your mission

    Here upon our natal sod!

    Keep, oh, keep the young heart open

    Always to the breath of God!

    All true trophies of the ages

    Are from mother-love impearled;

    For the hand that rocks the cradle

    Is the hand that rules the world.

    Motherhood is no easy thing but there are few callings as beautiful and important. Mother, open your mouth with wisdom, and may the law of kindness be on your tongue, watch over the ways of your household, and do not eat the bread of idleness. And one day, your children will rise up and call you blessed. (Proverbs 31:26-28)

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