1 Samuel 1:19-23
If you’ve held an infant, you’ve experienced the wondrous, fragile, sweet gift of a baby’s breath on your cheek, arm, or neck. When my infant grew hungry, I cradled her on my shoulder as we walked to the rocking chair. As she rooted around for food, her mouth found my cheek, then my nose. I felt her tiny warm exhales in my nostrils. In these intimate moments, my thoughts turned to God, the source of my child’s breath.
Our text today tells us that God remembered Hannah. I am sure that Hannah remembered God as she held and fed her infant son. I wonder what that was like for her. Often in the Bible, God remembers people and acts on their behalf. Yet some people in the Bible seem forgotten, outside of the benefit of God’s action on their behalf.
Hannah endured many days of feeling forgotten and forsaken by God. As Hannah holds Samuel and remembers God, I wonder if she holds both promise and pain, past and future, hope and loss.
Each of us lives in the mystery of our biblical ancestors. The question of God’s remembering and God’s acting on our behalf is complicated, if not overwhelming—big enough to get lost in. My longing is to be so intertwined with God that the questions and mystery deepen rather than damage our connection.
Sometimes breath seems to be the only tangible means we have to connect with God. Your breath. The breath of your loved one. Our breath is powerful, fragile, and held by God. Today, may your breath connect you with yourself, with God, and with those crossing your path.
What moments have held both promise and pain, past and future, hope and loss for you? When has God invited you to pause and cradle a certain relationship, conversation, or time of solitude?
Take a few moments in silent prayer to connect with God through your breath. As you inhale, envision yourself breathing in God’s exhale. As you exhale, envision God breathing in your exhale.