Lent to the Lord…

This week I am traveling with Monica and our five youngest girls to visit my daughter Hanieh in Nauvoo, Illinois, where she is serving a mission. Today we were in the Nauvoo Temple, where Hanieh was endowed with power, taking an important step as an adult, and making covenants that will strengthen and guide her throughout life. It was just twenty years ago next month that she came into our lives, born a gift from the Lord for our keeping and responsibility. I regard it no coincidence that just two weeks before her birth she kicked within her mother’s womb as we attended the dedication of this very temple on June 27, 2002.

As I observed Hanieh in the temple, dressed in white alongside her mother, embarking on a new chapter in life, I could not help but think about Hannah of old who went to the temple of ancient Israel to pray and plead with the Lord. She had lived long in marriage childless, longing for life to spring forth of the love she held for her husband, and the faith she had in the Lord. In fasting and prayer she wept sorely the righteous desire of her heart. “O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life…” (1 Samuel 1:11).

“…she kicked within her mother’s womb as we attended the dedication of this very temple on June 27, 2002.”

Monica, Hanieh and Danny Malcolm at the Nauvoo Temple, June 11, 2022.

Hannah’s faith in and covenant with the Lord was rewarded and she indeed bore a son whom she raised and dedicated to the service of God. When the boy Samuel was yet still very young, but sufficiently mature to leave the daily care of his mother, Hannah returned to the temple with the lad and presented him to the priest Eli. “…this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there” (1 Samuel 1:27-28).

The Lord has heard our prayers and blessed us so. Fourteen times has Monica’s womb been filled, and twelve times have we held and nurtured our little ones, gifts from God all. It is only fitting that once we have raised them sufficiently mature to leave our daily care, teaching them to walk always in God’s light and love, that we lend them to the Lord all the days of their lives.

Hannah Presenting Her Son Samuel to Eli, by Robert T. Barrett

Is it not the desire of every light, every child that comes into our lives, that we teach them all they need to walk uprightly and return to our heavenly home? This child’s prayer, “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” a song written by Clara W. McMaster (1904–1997), is a sweet pleading to earthly parents for light to follow the path home to Heavenly Father:

Teach me to walk in the light of His love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.

Monica and I have felt both the heavenly nudge, and in the eyes of our loving children, the hope and desire that we might raise them to a day when they will be prepared to embark on a new life, a life of service and dedication to the God who blessed us with these lives. In their wanting eyes, needing of milk and meat for nourishment, love to have hope, also needing just as much the fruit of the Spirit, Godly learning and the love of Christ, that the body may be strong, with hearts not suffering for want, as their spirit that dwells within.

Sister Hanieh Malcolm lighting the way in Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi.

This evening I followed a path Hanieh lit with lantern in hand as we listened to vignettes of quotes and accounts from pilgrim pioneers driven from their homes long ago for their testimonies of Christ. My heart was overcome by the Spirit of God confirming the witnesses of these suffering saints. As we journeyed along a trail leading to a water crossing on the Mississippi, following Hanieh’s lead, not only for our family but many others seeking the enlightenment this experience could bring, my thoughts came full circle. I reflected again to tears on Hannah and little Samuel. He was readied by his dear mother to serve the Lord, Hannah lending him back to the Lord from whence he came. We receive these blessed little ones, teaching them to walk in the light, hearts filled with love, and lend them to the Lord to serve Him always. Hanieh, as our other blessing sons and daughters, we have lent to Him.

May we as Hannah place our faith in God, receive all He offers, teaching them to walk uprightly in the light of His love, and lend them to the Lord, give them unto the Lord all the days of their lives. That all the priceless children under Heaven may be prepared and dedicated by grateful faithful parents to serve Him always, even to be lent to the Lord, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.