Hannah was greatly distressed in 1 Samuel 1:10-20. Instead of stewing and pouting and turning away from God she poured everything out before Him. We see that she was “bitter” (v. 10). This is not the picture of a prim and proper worshipper of the Lord coming before Him and singing praise songs. This is a woman that has a very deep, burning wound and she is bitter about it. Life is not fair. Things are not going right. This is NOT the way that they should be! This has gone on for too long, God. Enough! She “wept severely”.
Crying out to God
Hannah moped and was depressed (see verses 7 and 8), then she cried out to God. She laid it all out before the Lord. I imagine that she screamed with all she had from deep inside of her broken, hurting heart.
Are you willing to be completely undone and open with the Lord? I’ve met people that believe they cannot yell at God. “That it is disrespectful and unacceptable,” they say.
I have found in my walk with the Lord that He wants my complete openness to Him. At times, this has meant crying out with such emotions as to yell and scream. My Father responded not with a lightning bolt but with deep love. God so loves you that He desires your honesty, which isn’t always pretty.
God wants an intimate relationship with us. He desires for us to be completely open and transparent with Him. While He knows what is in our hearts, He desires for us to express it to Him. When needed, He wants us to weep severely TO Him. He desires fervent, passionate prayers. He hears us when we cry, plead, and open up every fiber of our heart to Him. He hears and He answers.
Responding with worship before we have received
When the “priest” says “go in peace” (v 17), we need to go believing that we have been heard. Hannah left and then “her face was not sad as before” (v 19) and she worshipped before the Lord (v 19).
She had not yet received what she had pleaded for, yet she worshipped. This is faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Our peace comes not in the receiving of the thing we are asking for but in believing that we have been heard. Our peace is in the relationship we have with the Lord.
We are children of the King. Jesus said “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11). We have to ask. He will give good gifts. Gifts are not earned; often not deserved; and cost us nothing. He gives them because we ask from our position as His child.
Often the hardest answer to prayer is “no” or “not yet”. In His ultimate wisdom, God doesn’t give us everything that we ask for in prayer. Or sometimes not in the timing that we expect. Are we willing to accept and trust that God is good, no matter whether we get everything we ask for or not?
Giving back what we have received
This chapter ends rather strangely. Hannah asked for a son and the Lord gave her a son. Then she leaves him at the temple?!?!
We see in chapter 2 that she visited and brought Samuel new clothes each year. Why did she do this?
She made a vow (v 11) and she honored her vow (v 20). When the Lord gives us good gifts we are to dedicate them to Him. All that we have is for His glory. We would not have it if the Lord had not given it.
Often we ask God for things that we want and desire to keep for our pleasure. While I’m not ruling out His ability and sometimes willingness to give us those things, I believe that everything we have is His. This includes our possessions but also relationships, positions, titles, and opportunities. We need to hold everything as stewards rather than as owners.
What are you doing with the gifts and opportunities the Lord has given to you? Are you holding them tight or pouring them out in His service?
Walking it out
Dallas and I have cried and wept severely before the Lord. On multiple occasions. We have been told that the answer is coming, go in peace. We are in the time between the dream and the fulfillment. A time of waiting, persevering, walking through the doors as they open, and trusting for direction with each step. Check out this post for more about Journeying from Dream to Fulfillment. We walk forward knowing that He has heard and is answering.
The questions of how are still there.
Doubt is very present and a constant battle.
The temptation to figure it out myself is all too real.
But we must resist those temptations. We must walk forward believing. It’s territory that was strange and unfamiliar for me, but has become common ground as we continue our journey. Walking in faith is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. And while it is difficult, I don’t want to be anywhere else than walking in intimacy with my Father.
I claim the shelter of the Most High God and all of His promises as stated in Psalm 91. I claim His good gifts as promised in Matthew 7:11 and all of His other promises throughout scripture. I choose to walk in the “substance” and “evidence” of things that we hope for but don’t currently see.
“Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me praise His holy name!” Psalm 103:1
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