“So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son.  She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.’”  (1Samuel 1:20, NIV)

It is helpful for the disciple of Jesus to remember that between a vision and its fulfillment; between a promise and the delivery of what was promised is “the course of time.”  It is here — like nowhere else — that we are challenged because we often become tired of waiting; or we become frustrated with the pace of fulfillment or of delivery; or we allow something else less worthy to divert our attention, or to curb our enthusiasm.

Hannah’s story began much earlier than what we read in today’s verse: She had been childless for a very long time, and had been praying for a very long time for a son.  God had heard Hannah’s prayer and, through Eli the priest, had promised to give her a son.  It wasn’t an instantaneous realization of God’s promise; the promise was realized “in the course of time” through something as common as conception, pregnancy, and childbirth.

Be encouraged by the fact that God always desires to work for us, in us, and through us.  Do not lose heart when the hours creep or when the days seem never to end.  – Luther

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“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’  So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”  (Luke 8:38-39, NIV)

“You can’t go home again,” is the title of a famous book written by Thomas Wolfe (1940).  Returning home is not always a pleasant option.  It certainly was not a cheerful thought for the man in today’s scripture, for whom Jesus had liberated from the tyranny of demon-possession.

Perhaps he feared the taunts of those who remembered him in his former state.  Perhaps he thought that his new life warranted a fresh start in a new place.  Perhaps he thought that he could do more for the reputation of Jesus as a part of the Master’s entourage than he could by returning to the skeptical folks at home.

However, Jesus had other ideas.  “Return home and tell how much God has done for you,” Jesus told the man.  He is telling you and me the same thing today.

Our task is a simple one: Tell what God has done for you.

Be bold.  Give God the glory.  No one can tell your story better than you.  Be faithful in this simple task.  – Luther

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