In our lives, we are bound to walk through trials from circumstances and experience rivals that provoke us and lead to disappointment and discouragement. If we do not deal with these emotions in a Christ-like manner, then our emotions have the potential to spread deeper into our soul causing more destruction. The story of Hannah is one of my favorite stories in the Bible because through her actions we can see a proper course of action that defeated her problems and her emotions.
1 Samuel 1-8, NIV
1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.
7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say 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?”
In this passage, we can see that Hannah lived in a dysfunctional family and was greatly grieved by her barrenness. Not only was she in a situation that brought on great embarrassment for her husband but Peninnah provoked her until she wept and would not eat.
Although Hannah was greatly loved by her husband, she could not be consoled by him. When our heart burns with such a relentless longing for something in our lives or we are having to live out circumstances that cause disappointment or great weeping, we do not see anything or anyone except for this one thing we are seeking. The saddest part is when that we are overcome by our emotions and we miss the plan Jesus has in store for us because our eyes are set elsewhere. When this happens, we allow the root of bitterness to sink into our heart and grow roots that lead to resentment, hate, and negative attitudes. As this root begins to grow, we question God’s sovereignty and love for us when we are experiencing trials, relationship problems, and a longing for something that hasn’t been given to us yet. Emotions are powerful and unless we learn to control them, they will control us.
1 Samuel 10-18, NIV
10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” 18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
Hannah’s prayer to us demonstrates the necessity of being raw and honest with God about the way we are feeling – the ugly, the bad, and the mad. She poured everything that was inside of her out before the LORD. When we take our emotions and thoughts before God, He will show us His view on our problems and how to correctly proceed in our actions. We see that after Hannah was weeping greatly before the LORD, she left her problems there, resumed her life, and her face was no longer downcast.
We can see the drastic change of Hannah’s attitude due to her praying and the importance of taking everything to God in prayer especially when the first sign of disappointment sets in. By following the steps below we can learn how to handle these situations:
- Honestly pray to God and bring your problem before Him.
- LEAVE your problems with God. Walk away and live your life for Him.
- Know that God is Sovereign and His will for your life is perfect.
- Praise and Worship Him through the trials.
- Receive encouragement and support from Christ-minded friends and mentors.
Hannah eventually receives her son from God who is named Samuel. He was the last judge of Israel and the first priest and prophet to serve during the time of a king. Samuel’s characteristics were the best examples of what a good judge should be, and he governed the people by God’s word and not by his own will. He was pivotal in Israel’s history since he was the first to anoint the king and usher in the Davidic line.
We can trust Jesus with the desires and longings of our hearts and all of our hurts and disappointments. God’s timing is perfectly purposeful.
What do you do when you don’t receive the desire that causes a deep longing within?
How can you learn to take everything to the LORD in prayer?
Do you have a hard time leaving your problems after you have talked to God about them?
If so, what steps will you take to overcome carrying your burdens yourself?
With all my love and encouragement,