Here I am again in a place I once was before. Will this ever end? All I see is barrenness. There is no sense or sight of hope, only hopelessness. Is this my fate? She thought. To be tormented and mocked? To never have my heart’s desire? It seems to be a never ending cycle. I am constantly reminded of it by circumstances that are out of my control. All the while being criticized and judged by a person that I cannot get away from.
Sorrow and tears have become my food. This pain will not let up it clings to me like a leech. I find no comfort in words given out of consolation. My soul is distressed.
Can you relate to this scenario? This is the story of a woman named Hannah in the Bible. She was vexed in her soul and had a sorrowful spirit. She seems to have found herself in a vicious cycle of unrelenting pain, bitterness of soul and sorrow.
I admit that I can relate to her in some ways. Especially when I have been in a season where every where I look it seems to be nothing but barrenness. You know the kind of season where you try to keep the faith and believe that the seeds you’ve planted in the ground will soon manifest the fruit of your labor. And yet your faith is waning. You feel like hope is gone. But how could that be what you believe when you keep going to the one who is the Creator of hope?
Sometimes I think God purposefully plants a little glimmer of hope inside our hearts. He knows that it will propel us to keep going so He can bring the breakthrough that we have been longing for.
Hannah still had hope regardless of her circumstances. She was married and wanted to to have a son. Years had gone by and she still had born no children. She was given a hard time by her husband’s other wife. (Yes, the men back then had multiple wives which is another matter in and of itself but I will not expand on that.) The other wife, whose name was Penninah had many children. Every year the whole family would go to the temple. Penninah thought that it was her duty in life especially, at those times to provoke Hannah into being upset that she had no children.
Hannah came to her wits end. She felt that she could bear it no more. She went to a place in the temple in the midst of her distress and sorrow. Tears streaming down her face, she poured out her heart to the Lord.
In the book of 1 Samuel it says, Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 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.” As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad…the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”
The Lord heard Hannah’s heart cry and answered her. Hannah kept her promise and brought her son Samuel to the temple to be dedicated and given to the Lord for his entire lifetime. Samuel’s life was one of great fulfillment. The Lord used him immensely. He was an amazing guy. You should check out his story in the Bible. He’s one of my favorite people to read about. Because of Hannah’s obedience, the Lord gave her many more children. Because she came to Him, He was able to turn her barrenness into fruitfulness.
Perhaps you have found yourself in a season of barrenness. It seems as if you are at a dead end with no sign of hope in sight. I want to encourage you to pour out your heart to the Lord. He sees it all anyway. He sees the circumstances that you are facing. He knows the pain, hopelessness and discouragement that you are feeling.
Psalms 38:9 says, Lord, you know all my desires and deepest longings.
My tears are liquid words and you can read them all.
Psalms 56:8-10 says, You’ve kept track of all my wandering and my weeping.
You’ve stored my many tears in your bottle—not one will be lost. For they are all recorded in your book of remembrance. The very moment I call to you for a father’s help the tide of battle turns and my enemies flee. This one thing I know: God is on my side! I trust in the Lord. And I praise Him! I trust in the Word of God. And I praise Him!
As you pour out your heart to Him, I believe He will be right there waiting to answer you and will intervene on your behalf. His plans are so much better than ours. His outcome will far outweigh the outcome if we were to try to make it happen on our own. Seasons here on earth are always changing. Winter will not stay forever. Spring will come.
Jeremiah 1 says, Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter]. Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.
As you go to the Lord know that He hears your every prayer and will answer it! As you wait expectantly for Him He will move on your behalf!