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Lenten Reflections: Amazing Faith

'Lent votives' photo (c) 2012, Jamie - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013

Judges 13:1-14
Mark 2:23-3:6
Hebrews 5:1-10

By Leigh Hildebrand

Excerpts from the Judges text:  The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.  There was a certain man…whose name was Manoah.  His wife was barren, having borne no children.  And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son.  Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean…No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth.  It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 

Then the woman came and told her husband “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like that of an angel of God, most awe-inspiring; I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name; but he said to me, “You shall conceive and bear a son.”

What people of faith Manoah and his wife were.  Sadly, we do not know her name (and that is a  different topic of discussion), but we know that God chose to bless her with a son—Samson. The Israelites had been captives of the Philistines for 40 years, but God had not abandoned them.  Now if I were this woman—who was not free and who hadn’t been able to bear a child her whole life—I might have laughed out loud if an angel approached me and said “you will conceive and bear a son.”  Her response wasn’t “Huh?” or “What are you talking about?” She didn’t even ask him who he was.  She had no question or disbelief at all—that is some amazing faith!!

During Lent and other times in our lives when we are feeling low and forgotten by God, we should remember the amazing faith of Manoah and his wife.  It was because of their complete trust in God and obedience to his instruction that Samson grew strong and powerful and was able to follow through on God’s plan.

Even Jesus was required to show his faith in God’s plan on the way to becoming our Savior.  The Hebrews passage teaches that “Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.  Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

Dear Lord, Help us to trust you and have faith in your plan for us, even when we feel alone and when the way forward is hard.                                      

Leigh Hildebrand is a member of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Washington, D.C. This post is reprinted, with permission,  from NYAPC's 2013 Lenten Meditations booklet.


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