The hope of Hannah

Have you ever felt like Hannah?

A prayer unanswered.  For years. 

Perhaps it’s for healing.  Or reconciliation.  Or a spouse.  Or a child. 

Or freedom.

It could be anything that you have desperately hoped for. 

Proverbs 13:12 says this, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  I have felt heartsick from deferred hope.  I’m sure you have too.  From looking back at my own experience, I have concluded that at the very root of my heartsick state was a lack of trust in God.  A trust that He is good.  That He loves me.  That He has a plan for me.  That he hears me.  That He is with me in the valley.  That he cares about what my deepest desires are.  That I am not forgotten…

When we don’t believe those things, we have no hope – and we are heartsick. 

Maybe the proverb should say this:

“Hope deferred grows faith and increases a fervency of petitions toward God”

That’s how it was for Hannah.  She was a barren wife.  And her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, had borne him many children.  She felt forgotten by God.  Insignificant.  Unimportant.  Unseen.  She longed for a child of her own to cuddle, to soothe, and to share with her husband. 

Year after year they would travel to Shiloh to worship YHWH.  Every year Penninah would provoke Hannah “bitterly to irritate her” because she had no children.  Every year Hannah would weep.  And every year Hannah would pray.

One particular year, Hannah was praying to YHWH and crying.  She vowed to Him that if He would remember her and give her a son, that she would commit that son to Him all the days of His life.

The Word says that Hannah poured out her soul to the Lord.  She laid her heart barren on the altar before Him.

How often do we pour out our soul in prayer? Do we do it as often as we call a friend for sympathy or to get some advice on the matter?  I admit that many times I will reach for the phone instead of reach to heaven.  Or maybe we pray, but it's while we are shopping or doing our make up and it’s a quick "God help her with that situation" sent up in haste.   Our tones and our hearts are obedient, yet passive.   So often our prayers are merely words spoken out of habit - they don't have a connection with the pain, desire, or passion in our hearts, in our SOUL.  Hannah was connected to that place and poured it out on the altar.

I love the story of Hannah’s prayer.  Because God answers her prayer and she does have a son: Samuel.   And she has more children after that.  We are able to look back in light of what God does and something shifts:

Hannah's prayer of pain becomes a prayer of HOPE for us.

You never know when your next prayer is going to be the MIRACLE.  

What if your VERY. NEXT. PRAYER. is the one where God says YES?  

Don't give up, don't give in, and don’t think he doesn't hear you or doesn't care.  He may have been saying no, or wait, or just not saying anything for a long time...

Sometimes when we pray nothing happens; but SOMETIMES... you see a miracle.

A doctor told my husband’s mom that she would never have a child, that it was IMPOSSIBLE.  Yet I'm married to him.

As a 30-year-old single woman serving the Lord, I felt that my dream of getting married would never come true.  Yet I’m married to him.

Hannah gives me hope every time I pray for anything, big or small.

Keep believing.  Keep praying.  Keep trusting.  HE SEES YOU.  He remembers you.  And this very next prayer could be the miracle you have been hoping for.