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God’s Gift – A Spiritual Mother


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(The Choristers had just sung that beautiful hymn written by the founder of the Apostolic Faith work, "The Heart's Cry.")

 

"Oh, my soul is waiting, longing; I would leave this vale of tears; I would fly beyond the regions Where the soul will have no fears.

"Oh, the rapture that awaits me, When I'm done on earth below! How I'll rest within His bosom, How I'll love Him evermore!"

 

A

S we hear that beautiful hymn our memories go back to that greatest  mother we have ever known and what she has meant to us, not only to her own children, but to all of us — our spiritual mother in the Gospel. We thank God that we know something about the rapture of that wonder­ful moment when she took her flight. She is in Glory today, beyond all this world's sin and crime and violence and war, and is in that peaceful hab-

itation to which we are all headed.

 

Our Scripture lesson today, found in the first chapter of the first Book of Samuel, is about another wonderful mother:

 

"Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart

grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

"So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh,, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post

of the temple of the LORD.

"And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the

LORD, and wept sore.

"And she vowed a vow, and said, 0 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.

"And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the

LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

"Nov Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been

drunken.

"And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put

away thy wine from thee.

"And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

"Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken

hitherto.

"Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou bast asked of him.

"And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance

was no more sad" (I Samuel 1:8-18).

Hannah believed God and God answered that prayer. It says she poured out her soul unto God. If you want blessings from Him, that is what you must do — pour out your soul. Pour out all that is in your soul, from the depths of your inward being, and dedicate and consecrate your life to God, and make vows to Him. No one ever receives anything from the Lord that is worth-while unless he makes vows — and vows mean con­secrations. God hears that kind of prayers and vows. If we keep them, God is going to answer; and when He answers, then you are sad no more. All the sadness of your present life is gone, and peace flows like a river in your soul. You have an assurance and a confidence in the God whom you are serving that He not only hears but He answers prayer, and He gives you the desires of your heart.

 

God gave this woman the desire of her heart. She was childless for many years and she was under great reproach from those around about her. She wanted an heir, and she said, "0 LORD of hosts, if thou wilt . . . give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life." In other words, "I will turn him over to You and You can have him — if You will just give him to me." God gave her the desire of her heart.

 

The song of Hannah is wonderful. We find her singing and rejoicing. She begins her song with these words:

 

"My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

"There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God" (I Samuel 2:1, 2).

And she finishes her song like this:

"He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.

"He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail" (I Samuel 2:8, 9).

 

God gave her the son. After he was weaned she took him to the house of the Lord and left him there. We read:

 

"Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.

"Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice" (I Samuel 2:18, 19).

 

In those years when that child was growing up to manhood, those yearly visits must have meant a lot to him. You can picture that faithful, loyal, godly mother taking her son from among the rest of the people and talking with him, telling him about God and His salvation and giving him the advice that a godly mother should give her son. And because of that mother's consecration, and her advice and those yearly visits, Samuel became one of the most outstanding characters in the Bible. He was one of the greatest men in the Bible who stood true to God unto the end; he never faltered and never compromised.

 

It was Samuel who poured the oil over King Saul when he was anointed. Samuel loved Saul, but he would not compromise with him. When Saul sinned, Samuel told him just where he stood. Samuel was a wonderful man! The Word says:

 

"And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men" (I Samuel 2:26).

 

I believe it was all because of a faithful, godly mother who loved her boy and consecrated him at that early age. She dedicated him for God's service and asked God to take care of him all the days of his life, and make him a true man of God that he might help others, and give others the light, and influence them in the ways of righteousness. His was a great calling, and he had a high position before the Lord.

 

I thought as I heard some letters read from our boys who are across the sea in the service of our country, about one who used to sing with our Choristers. How proud his mother should be of him today, to know that the teachings that she planted in the heart of her boy have kept him! He has never gone away from them, but he has kept the faith in his soul and the love of God in his heart. Every godly mother can thank God today, who has a boy in the service or anywhere else, that she has been true to God and taught him and advised him in the way that he should go, and he will never get away from those early teachings that were sown in his young heart. There may be some mothers whose boys have not been faithful and have gone astray. But if you have been true to them in their childhood, and if you have taught them the ways of righteousness and told them about God, you can make up your mind that sometime, somewhere, those unanswered prayers shall receive attention from God, for God never lets go unanswered a prayer of honesty that has been poured out to Him. When those prayers are poured out, they are not poured out on the ground, but they are caught in a vessel; and someday those prayers are going to be poured out again. Thank God! They are going to be answered.

 

I have been thinking of others. I thought of our brother whom God convicted and saved when he was in jail in Spokane, Washington. How often he has testified of that faithful mother who prayed for him when he was a wayward boy, full of sin, breaking the laws of man and God. He wandered far from God, a criminal boy — got in jail and many times in prison. But he often testified how the prison walls never got too high nor the railroads too long for that mother to come to his rescue. That is the love of a mother. It is next to the love of God. Those are the kind of mothers' prayers that count for things these days.

 

I thank God for my own mother. She told her little ones about God in her ignorant way, as much as she knew. I was a little fellow; there were four other children, and we were all young together. We lived in a little mining town in this western country, in a little cabin on the side of a hill. She never neglected that little prayer. Each night she would gather us around her knee, and she would help us to pray the Lord's Prayer, and the little children's prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep." I am thankful she instilled something in our hearts that I have never gotten away from as long as I have lived.

 

Even as a sinner, many times I prayed when I was in trouble. Until I was sixteen or seventeen years old I never neglected to get down and pray at night, wherever I was. Afterward I drifted away; but when I was in trouble, I knew the way to get out. I had heard my mother's prayers and teachings. I never got away from them and they finally brought me to Christ.

 

I was down in the north end of this city, and at the end of my rope. Sin had done its work. I was a ruined man; my mother's heart was broken; our home was ruined; and I had been separated from those I loved, for ten years. God found me in a little old shack — a drunkard, down and out. I was down there stuck in the mud, physically as well as spiritually, moral­ly, and mentally. My character was gone. I had a reputation — it was a bad one!

 

We sometimes sing that song, "Lord, take me back to the faith of my childhood." I am thanking God that in those dark hours, when I was just about to wind up my career upon this earth — soon to pass on ­somehow God began to work on me and remind me of those childhocd days. I could visualize the whole thing. I could see the little cabin door, that young mother, the five of us around her knee, and the prayer we lisped in those days to the God we served.

 

I got out of that bunk that night on to that greasy floor and prayed, and sent up an SOS call to God. God heard that prayer, but He didn't answer that first prayer. He saw to it that I was going to pay the price that time. I had prayed to God many times before; and then, when I got out of trouble, it was all over with. But this was the night God held me to it. I said: "God, You help me. I don't want to die; I don't want to go to hell! If You can help me, do it now!" I prayed that prayer for three weeks.

 

I remembered when I was on night herd many years before. All of this came before me. God was dealing with me! I thought again of that night on night herd as I prayed. I thought of that cold spring morning on the bleak hills of Idaho, and the sleet slapping me in the face, and I remembered that I had said, "Up there, somewhere, God is." I didn't think He would ever have mercy on me.

 

But, thank God; I stayed with it, and I prayed on. Three weeks went past, and then one night something happened. Thank God! there was a rift in the clouds; down into my soul came the sweetest peace ever put into a human heart. It seemed like a whole symphony orchestra began to sing in my soul. The cloud was lifted, the chains were broken, and the shackles were loosed. I was a free man for the first time in all my life. It was glorious!

 

The next day I wrote a letter home to that mother, and I told her about what had happened to me. A few days passed by and I got a letter in her handwriting. I opened that letter and it had blotches all over it. She had mingled tears with the ink; but they were not tears of sadness, or of a broken heart — they were tears of joy! And every blotch told the story. I made her the happiest little lady in the world. It wasn't long until I had her here in Portland and told her the story; and finally she came into the Gospel. God really saved her. He gave her the old-time religion and sanctified her. Out here in a little cottage in the suburbs of the city of Portland where she spent her last moments, the Lord baptized her with the Holy Ghost just before He took her Home. She sang that old hymn as she was going out,

 

"Some day the silver cord will break, And I no more as now shall sing; But 0, the joy when I shall wake Within the palace of the King!"

 

She sang it as long as she could; and when she couldn't speak any longer, couldn't make a sound, her lips still moved.

 

The silver cord was loosed, the pitcher was broken at the fountain, and the wheel was broken at the cistern; and she went back to God went back with a hope in her heart that I would meet her on that other shore. I am headed that way today.

 

We can all thank God this Mother's Day that we have a memory of our spiritual mother. God bless her memory! God bless the hour she brought the Gospel here, and put up the standard in our soul. By that standard, we have, by the grace of God, dedicated our lives to hold up what she preached, hold up those who are left to tell the Story until our last battle is fought and won, and until we hear the swish of the angels' wings, and the voice of the Master when He comes to take His loved ones Home.


By Rev J. Robbins
 

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