Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)
TITLE: Mother Hannah’s Burden
By Angela Coleman
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One church member, though, was unmoved.
Sitting in the middle pew was the woman folks affectionately referred to as Mother Hannah. She had long been a beloved fixture of the church. The elderly saint was known for her dedication towards prayer. The sick, the grieving, the emotionally wounded would come to her with pleas for her intercession and she would gently lay her gnarled hands on their heads and, in a soft yet eloquent voice, request intervention from heaven. Some said they felt as though they were in the very throne room of God. How much comfort she had provided to so many! How much faith had been built up because of her encouragement!
Then her own faith had been challenged to the core and the woman who had turned countless hearts to Christ now found her own heart growing cold.
One year ago, her only son Cal had been arrested for his part in a convenience store robbery in which a clerk had been shot to death. Though Cal had sworn that he had not been the trigger man, he was prosecuted along with his companions and given a life sentence without parole. He now sat languishing in a prison too far away for her to visit. Though she had sent him endless letters, he never responded to her nor called her.
Mother Hannah, who had never doubted her Savior before, found herself questioning Him.
“Didn’t I love and raise that boy when You took His daddy home, Lord?” she asked. “Didn’t I read Your Word to him and teach him Your ways? Even when he got caught up with bad folks, I still had faith that You would turn things around. Yet, look at how things are. My Cal is locked up for the rest of his life and I’m alone! ”
She had spent many a day and night, since then, weeping until she was too weary to cry another tear. Then the time came when no tears would come at all. Soon the other saints of the church began to notice a change in her.
The warmth Mother Hannah once radiated had gone, replaced by an aloof coldness that made them afraid to approach her now. Though she still attended services, it was evident that her heart was no longer there.
She had decided that she had no more faith left for either herself or others. She had borne the burdens of so many, as well as her own, and she was tired. Church attendance began to be an empty ritual, merely something to do to keep from being by herself.
As the congregation stood along with the choir to start praise and worship, the old woman remained seated, her jaw set in rebellious fury. Why should she honor a God who had allowed her life to be filled with such loneliness? Why should she extol Him when He had not answered her countless prayers to turn around the heart of her ungrateful child?
Watching those around her raising their hands, she could barely endure it as they shouted and sang Scriptures about the unfailing faithfulness of the Lord. When they finally ceased and sat down, relief swept over her.
Then Rev. Pike stepped behind the pulpit. His gaze seemed to go in Mother Hannah’s direction. She felt immediately uncomfortable, but his eyes remained focused on her.
“Tonight, I have a word from the Lord about burdens,” he said, in his melodious baritone. “Sometimes we depend on our own strength to deal with the hardships of life. We take on the weight of others’ troubles and our own and none of us was meant to do that. None of us is capable of fixing anything. We must cast them, instead, on our Savior, trust Him and allow Him to take care of them in His way and in His season. Only then will we know rest and peace,”
As he continued, Mother Hannah felt the anger melt from her soul. She released years of burdens to Jesus, at last, believing that- someway- He would make everything alright.
And for the first time in years, she felt free.
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