Regardless of what you face, spend time in prayer talking with God about the things that trouble you
After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head” (1 Samuel 1:9–11).
My sadness for Hannah turns to respect as I read more of her story. Hannah decided she had felt sorry for herself long enough. She took her anger, bitterness, and discontent to God in prayer. The day she stopped to have a prayer meeting in the temple was a day that changed her life forever. She did not make a deal with God, manipulate him, or force him to bless her. No, she left her desperation at the altar, broke a cycle of despair, and rose up with newfound hope. Hannah spent years feeling that God was silent, but that day she rose from prayer with the words of a prophet spoken over her, “‘Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.’ And she said, ‘Let your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (1 Samuel 1:17–18).
In her desperation, she made a vow to God. If God would give her a son, she would give him back to God for service. Her request that God remember her was more than a reminder to God of her existence; she was pleading with him to act on her behalf.1
Sister, does anything make you feel desperate today? Do you feel like the constant adjustments of military life are going to mess up your kids? Do you struggle to feel adequate in the sea of perceived perfect moms? Are you exhausted as you await a deployed husband’s return? Do you feel like you are swimming upstream in your effort to keep your preteen or teen on the right path? Oh friend, can I tell you that God remembers you? Be encouraged as you read the rest of Hannah’s story. She left that prayer meeting and traveled home with her husband. Scripture says, “the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord’” (1 Samuel 1:19b–20).
Do not hesitate to call on the Lord. Regardless of what you face, spend time in prayer talking with God about the things that trouble you. The Word of God encourages us to cast all our cares on the Lord, because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Did you notice in the Scripture recorded that when Hannah left the presence of the Lord, she ate some food and her face was no longer sad? She had not given birth, nor had she conceived. Yet in her heart, her faith had conceived the promise of God, and in due time the promise was born.
In her desperation, Hannah turned to God instead of away from him. What does that tell you about her? To whom or what do you turn when you feel disappointment?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, I sometimes find it too easy to take comfort in things that are not emotionally or spiritually healthy. Thank you for the example of Hannah, who took her disappointment to you. Help me to put my faith in you, no matter the circumstances. Amen.
1 Edward E. Hindson, Daniel R. Mitchell, Zondervan King James Version Commentary: Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 367.