9. Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle.
10. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.
11. And she made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut.”
1 Samuel 1: 9–11 NLT
Today’s Passage returns us to the Beginning of The Story of Samuel, in which the iconic Judge’s mother has yet even to conceive him. In fact, Hannah, the initial focus of our Story, wasn’t able to bear children at all. For this Story to even begin, God had to perform a Miracle.
As previously stated, the conflict at the heart of this tale, instigating the fervor of Hannah’s zeal, was her inability to conceive and her counterpart’s ill-treatment given her ailment. You see, Hannah and her husband shared a polygamous marriage with another woman, Peninnah, who mocked Hannah unmercifully for her inability to have children.
It was a move that would inflict a wound in any woman’s soul, and Hannah suffered for years under those untenable conditions until one day it was more than she could bear. When the emotional weight becomes too heavy to carry that is when our prayers of desperation most efficiently reach the ears of God, and our Faith activates His Mercy.
And that is the position we find Hannah in Today’s Passage. She became so distraught that she went to the Temple alone to pray. In her prayer, she bore her heart to God, all but begging Him to end her suffering and give her a son. Hannah laid her request out so bitterly that she could not avert the sobs racking her.
Hannah was so desperate to have a child and end her counterpart’s merciless mocking that she made a promise to God in her prayer that would alter her life and the life of her unborn son forever. As she prayed, Hannah swore to God that if He gave her a son, she would give him back to God. She sealed this vow with the promise that he would become a Nazarite like Sampson had been, dedicated to God from birth.
The sign of that vow was that her still unborn and yet-to-be-conceived son would never cut his hair. Hannah was so eager to have a child that if He granted her petition, she was willing to offer him right back to God. In my previous post, I mentioned that sometimes, God uses situations to drive our desperation so that we will be in the Position of Transition.
Once in that Position, we can strip away all of the accumulated detritus hindering our progress and dig down to the meat of the matter. But to do so takes a level of pain and despair that forces Faith. The Lesson for Today is to begin to recognize this state and recreate the resulting Faith without the requisite despair.
Experience is key here because without any idea of what our “Faith Solution” looks like or the conditions that led to it, how would we ever be able to recreate it? In short, we couldn’t. In order to make it to your destination, you must first find the path and learn the route. That is rarely accomplished through happenstance. Wandering just gets you lost.
It takes determination, courage, and intentionality to face the yawning gulf of hopelessness, still somehow expecting hope, and it takes boundless Faith to achieve it. But when desperation grips one’s soul in the manner Hannah endured, such depths of commitment are easier to secure. What happens when you’ve experienced them before, and you’re confronted with a similar challenge?
That is where your experience SHOULD kick in, telling your desperate soul, “God sees and understands your trial. You’ve been here before! Remember when you called on Him before what happened? Trust Him again! Give Him Glory now for what you do not see yet, and watch as He does it again. And this time, you don’t need to fret because you already know He can do it!”
If that is not the conversation you have in your mind after you’ve seen God’s Hand of Providence and Grace in your life, then what is your experience worth to you? God allows us to go through hard times that try our Faith to ensure that we have what it takes the next time we are confronted with similar issues.
The question is, are you paying attention and storing up your experience to use as ammunition for the next fray? Or are you just wandering from trial to trial, never realizing that our problems come to make us stronger? If you are not growing from your experiences, you will die in your disorder. Never squander your pain. Everything we face is for a reason!
Have a Spectacular Saturday and Remember, Our Trials Are Gifts From God To Make Us Better Equipped To Face What’s Next!