5th September 2020
'Her grief was overwhelming'
Have you had days
when you have cried and prayed
but had the realisation that,
despite your best intentions,
and regardless of the energy you have expended,
there was nothing else you could do?
I think we all have times
like this throughout our lives.
I think Hannah felt the same way.
She longed for a child,
but was unable to bear one.
Her grief was overwhelming.
In 1 Samuel 1:8
Elkanah, Hannah's husband, said to her,
"...Hannah, why are you weeping?
Why don't you eat?
Why are you downhearted?
Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"
You can hear the anguish in his voice too,
but Hannah was too wrapped up in her own grief;
sadness had stolen her appetite.
Soon after she visited the temple, and,
prayed to the Lord
and wept bitterly.' (v10).
When Eli the priest noticed her,
all he could see was a woman
'speaking in her heart,
her lips were moving
but her voice was not heard.' (v13b)
Hannah's grief was so deep, she had no words.
When we ask God for our deepest desires
and then surrender to our trust in him,
we can be given inexplicable peace
in the knowledge that he has heard us.
We may not always have our prayers answered
in the way we want
but what he gives us turn out to be the best.
While Hannah eventually had children,
I think she would have preferred
the beginning of her story
to have been different.
But God heard her prayer
and answered the desires of her heart.
Even then Hannah offered her first born back to God.
Although Hannah's waiting was hard,
she also experienced God's peace.
While in the Temple,
pouring out her heart to God
verse 18b tells us,
'her face was no longer sad.'
This reminds us that often the best gift of prayer
is getting to know God
and experience his peace.
We learn this by making our requests,
patiently waiting for him to answer
and trusting his wisdom and love for us;
although not every prayer
will be answered exactly
the way we hope for.
However Hannah's story reminds us
that we can still pray
even when we have no words.
We can know God's peace
and, when we don't have the answers,
we can trust in him.
in his letter to the church in Philippi,
6 'Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus.'
God is waiting for us
and listening for our prayers.