Grateful for What We Prayed For | IFCJ
Skip Navigation
Jerusalem

Grateful for What We Prayed For

Girl Praying

A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.” — Judges 13:2–3

The Torah portion for this week is Naso, which means “count,” from Numbers 4:21–7:89, and the Haftorah is from Judges 13:2–25.

I recently read an inspiring story about an Israeli couple, Shlomo and Shiraz, who had struggled for years with fertility issues. Finally, after six years of disappointment, the couple found out that they were expecting twins! Their prayers had been answered abundantly, and when the time came, two healthy children – one girl and one boy – were born. But the story does not stop there.

Shortly after the birth of the twins, Shlomo and Shiraz discovered that their son had Down syndrome. However, these joy-filled parents explained how they never felt despair from the news — only endless love and gratitude for the gift of their child. Shiraz admits that without the six hard years of longing for a child, she may not have been able to handle the news as gracefully as she did. In fact, studies have shown that approximately one-third of parents who give birth to children with Down syndrome abandon their babies in the hospital. But for Shlomo and Shiraz, their son was a gift that they greatly cherished even if he came in packaging that was different than expected.

The title of Shlomo’s new book which tells the family’s story, This Is the Son That I Prayed For, says it all. Sometimes our prayers are answered in ways that we didn’t expect, but they are answered nonetheless. Moreover, sometimes God waits for the right moment to answer our prayers – sometimes a very long time – so that we might recognize His answer for the blessing that it truly is.

In this week’s Haftorah reading, we learn about another Israelite woman who struggled with having children. We know her only as the wife of Manoah and future mother of Samson, the great hero of Israel. She, too, prayed for many long years for a child. Finally, an angel appeared to her and told her that while she was technically barren, she would become pregnant and give birth. However, there was a caveat. Her son would be a Nazarite from even before his birth, and many restrictions would apply to him and her as well.

He would be dedicated to God from birth and would be destined to lead Israel. Perhaps, had Samson’s mother received such news the first time she prayed for a son, she might have been upset. Why must her child be singled out from the rest? Why must he be taken from her and given over to God? Yet after years of praying and waiting, all she could feel was joy and gratitude.

Friends, don’t be discouraged when prayers aren’t answered right away. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time. Keep praying and keep believing – and then be thankful for what you have prayed for!

LATEST DEVOTIONAL

Fill Up On Love

February 21, 2019

Fill yourself with God’s love, and there’ll be no space for anything else.

Read More

NEW TEACHING RESOURCE

Study of Ruth

A Study on Ruth

The Book of Ruth is traditionally read during Shavuot, both for its ties to the harvest season and for Ruth's vow to follow the God of Israel. Learn more about her legacy of faith and loyalty with this free Bible study, The Life of Ruth.

Download Now

HOW TO HELP

Photo of Rabbi Eckstein by plane with new olim on Wings of Eagles Aliyah - The Fellowship has scheduled an emergency Memorial Freedom Flight departing to bring 240 Ukrainian Jews, who are being targeted with anti-Semitic hatred and violence, home to Israel.

Memorial Freedom Flight

You can honor Rabbi Eckstein's life and ministry through your memorial On Wings of Eagles gift in his name. The first Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein Memorial Freedom Flight departs on February 24th lifting off from Ukraine, to bring Jews who are being targeted with anti-Semitic hatred and violence, home to Israel. Your impact will further Rabbi Eckstein's mission and the prophetic rescue of God's people from the "four corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12 KJV).

Donate Now