A teacher who was working with her students on verb tenses learned that kids really do say whatever comes to mind. “If I say I am beautiful, which tense is that?” she asked her class. “That would have to be past tense,” a little boy blurted out. We’ve all known folks who tend to say whatever is on their minds. Thankfully, those words aren’t always insulting. Sometimes we’ve moved to offer words of praise, especially toward God when He has shown great kindness to us. You may have read about the time when such words of praise gushed forth from the mouth of Hannah, the sweet woman of God in the Old Testament. She found herself in awe of His goodness. As she prayed one day, these words rolled off her tongue: “He raises the poor up from the dust. He lifts up the needy from the trash heap. He guards the steps of his faithful ones. He grants the request of the one who prays” (1 Samuel 2:8-9).
What’s amazing is that those words came from Hannah at a time in her life that must have been filled with emotional turmoil. She had just arranged for her young son, Samuel, to move out of her home to serve the Lord. Even in such bittersweet circumstances, Hannah found reason to praise God. Even when we face heartbreak and our world seems to be shaken to its very foundations, God is always there for us. As Hannah pointed out, “there is no Rock like our God.” Hannah had clearly learned to trust in and to cling to that Rock. Unlike the critical little boy who didn’t see the beauty in his teacher, God looks upon His children with eyes of adoration. He always sees beauty in the present tense. Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland.