You’ll find Hannah’s story in the first book of Samuel beginning in the first chapter. Hannah was one of two wives in her household, and she was her husband’s favorite even though she was barren. She lived with verbal abuse from the other wife, Peninah, who made her life miserable because Peninah was blessed with children and Hannah wasn’t. I suspect Peninah acted out because she felt unloved and unappreciated as well. Although her husband Elkanah knew what was going on and why Hannah was so upset, he was still relatively clueless because he knew he kept reassuring Hannah that he loved her despite her barrenness and wondered why Peninah’s taunting affected her so.
Hannah turned to God for comfort, help and support. Those of us who have endured abuse of any kind know how lonely these painful experiences can be. Scripture says God is our refuge and our strength and a very present help.
Psalm 46:1 (NKJV)
46 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
We are so blessed. Like Hannah, we can turn to God for all that we need and trust Him to supply in ways that are right for us. Like Hannah, we have to do our part and ask for the help we need and trust God to deliver us in His time. Many had been the time during my being on the receiving end of abuse that I didn’t think I could handle any more, that I would crack and break emotionally and there would be no one there to pick up the pieces. Praise God that He empowered and strengthened me and eventually delivered me.
Psalm 4:1 (NKJV)
4 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
Back to Hannah. She poured her heart out to the Lord, so much so that Eli, the High Priest, thought she was drunk. Her lips moved, but there was no sound. Who knows how much time she spent there in fervent, sincere prayer. What is worth noting is that when she finished, she knew her prayer was heard and answered. Although her present circumstances were not changed, she herself was transformed. Where there had been anguish, there was peace, that sure spiritual knowing that God had touched her life. She praised God for what He was doing in her life and body, and He did reward her with Samuel, whom she dedicated to His service, and other children.
This morning God woke me with this message He wants me to pass along to you. He loves you as much as He loved Hannah and is there for you just like He was for Hannah. You can come before His throne and cry out to Him verbally or silently, and He will hear you. He knows your needs and the desires of your heart and will bless you according to His will, plan and purpose for your life. Hannah had to wait and endure abuse. So did I. God in His mercy heard and delivered us both.
Let’s pray: Father God, thanks for this short study and insights You have given me on how You are and what prayer is all about. I have known that prayer is connecting to and communicating with You, but that knowing has deepened. Help me to pray as Hannah prayed, to call out to You with all that I am. Help me to know, really know like Hannah did that my prayer has been heard and that You will act in Your time. Thanks for showing me that, with You in my life, I am never alone or unsupported. That means a lot and will serve to help me even when things seem like they won’t change. Thanks for working all things for my good because I love You, I love you more than life itself. Thanks also for being with all those who are in desperate situations and being there for them like You are here for me and like You were there for Hannah. Grant to us all that peace, that joy, that truly passes all understanding. In Jesus’ name, amen.
copyright 2015, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved.