When I was in high school I grew to love Bethany Dillon - a female Christian musician. She wrote one song The Kingdom which really struck me. The lyrics always struck me because they were so raw and relatable. A young girl searching, questioning, challenging the way things are and the way life is...
"Why are some women barren
While the wicked's house is full"
These lines always struck me the most. I am reminded of Hannah and her story - a powerful story of hope and faith. Hannah was a woman of sorrowful spirit. She was lost and distressed over being barren. She was unable to have children, but her husbands other wife had already given him many children. It was a difficult situation because all she wanted was a child and she could not have one, while the other wife had many and continually treated Hannah poorly and rubbed it in her face.
Often, I struggle with the idea of women who have children and do not want them... when there are so many women out there who want children and are unable to have them... how is this right/fair/just? Obviously it is not, but there is wickedness in this world and bad things happen to good people...
Hannah was faithful and prayed to God. She did not speak the prayer out loud as was customary in that day, she breathed a wish in her soul and sent it up unspoken to God.
If you'll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you'll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I'll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I'll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.
What a prayer!!
Not only did Hannah have enough faith to pray a prayer and believe it would be granted/answered, but also she was so faithful that she committed to giving her child back to God when she was blessed with one.
Not only was she blessed with one, but God blessed her with many.
Was it her prayer?
Was it her faith?
Was it her hope?
A woman of sorrowful sprit became a woman of joyful spirit. She was the one that sang praises to God. How do we become more like Hannah?
When I was younger my father would always tell me:
Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your soul.... Proverbs 4:23
I am convinced that Hannah guarded her heart. She guarded it in prayer and reverence to God. She committed her being to the Church.
Now, we know that God doesn't always answer prayer. Sometimes he says yes, sometimes no, sometimes maybe.... sometimes we do not feel an answer at all. When we feel the answer is no... do we keep praying and asking for a yes??? How does this work? Where does faith, hope and prayer turn from Hannah's example into being blind and helpless... is there such a thing?
So often people struggle with the idea of praying to a being that is unseen... but then I cannot help but think of Hebrews and knowing that faith is being confident in what we hope for and assured of what we do not see.
Then I am reminded of... the other wife that treated Hannah so poorly, the husband that thought he could be enough, the other children that went unloved by their mother, and Eli who thought Hannah was out of her mind when she was praying to God...
There will always be other people out there who are trying to rain on your parade. They will try to dissuade you and try to push you down. There are people who feel better about themselves when they feel less of others. This world is a tarnished world and it is a struggle to be a part of at times, but I cannot help to just resonate on Hannah's hope and her faith.
The sorrow would not subside
As she poured her heart out again
Tipping over and spilling the
same sad song from her lips
What could be the answer
The waiting was killing her
Could it be the same no
she had received many times before
Many thought she crazy
other pitted her dearly
but there was one who was
listening more than the others
He was the answer she was waiting for
One day he came
Her sorrow turned to joy
and she kept her prayed promise
Was it her faith
Was it her hope
Was it her God
that she prayed to daily
Science is a tricky thing
it will tell you one thing
but then another will happen
what do we depend on?
Her sorrow was subsided
When her prayers were answered
Lips fill with joy and praise
singing for all to hear
Not just one but many
Truly blessed she was
Her heart was full
as was her home
I have been challenged to have Hannah's faith and hope... So I am challenging you to do the same. What is it in your life that you want so dearly that you would bargain, pled, and beg for? So much so that you would promise to sacrifice or give it back to God if you got it? A job/career, acceptance, weight loss, money/security in finances, or something else? Can I guarantee that God will answer your prayer or even mine the same as he answered Hannah's? No. But, what I can do is say that whatever happens it is a part of his plan....