Greetings and a very happy new year to my #INSPIRED family! I pray the following message inspires you!
Some of the most successful people have endured some level of physical, mental and emotional pain in all efforts to reach their goals. Fulfilling your PURPOSE and walking into your divine DESTINY is not, and should not be "peaches and roses." As the saying goes, "easy come, easy goes." The process certainly doesn't feel good, but the end rewards are so worth it. Not only you'll come out on top, you'll come out STRONGER.
Some of the most precious, unique things on this earth weathered trials of various, yet severe natures. Married/engaged women: take a gander at that beautiful diamond(s) on your wedding or engagement ring. Do you realize that you are wearing a lump of coal that was placed under extreme pressure in an effort to bring that diamond's sparkling beauty into fruition? A diamond is an example of beauty exemplified through pain and pressure.
I truly believe that one of the "sheros" of the Bible who could testify about enduring trials, the one I believe we ALL, quintessentially can relate to in some way, is HANNAH. There are so many themes we can pinpoint from her story: faith, prayer, steadfastness, purpose, pain, infertility, etc. Although everything about Hannah, of course, is not chronicled here, the most pertinent themes God wants us to hone in on are detailed in the Book of First Samuel.
First of all, she shared her husband, Elkanah. As common as bigamy and polygamy were during that era, I can imagine one, if not all wives in that situation, individually "felt some kind of way" with having to share their husband. However, Peninnah, Elkanah's other wife, was Hannah's agitator and adversary. She tormented Hannah sorely, all because she was barren. "And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb." (1 Samuel 1:6, emphasis added) So, not only was she barren, but her state of infertility was caused by the hand of God! Now that's thought-provoking!
The Bible says that Elkanah loved Hannah more, and gave her a worthy portion; however, gifts and luxuries become irrelevant when it comes to longing for that particular thing you TRULY DESIRE...and yet, CAN'T HAVE. Hannah was the favorite wife, but that was not enough! Hannah was barren and relentlessly teased about her situation. Try to imagine Hannah's position and the possible mental agony behind it all.
However, as unfortunate as her situation was, it did not prevent Hannah's worship. Instead of pointing the finger at God like, "Why can't I bare children? Why did You do this to me? What did I DO wrong?", she continued to seek God, in the midst of her affliction.
So many of us fall out, kick and scream when things don't go our way. We have temper tantrums and threaten to walk away from God. In fact, some have even departed from the faith because things didn't go their way. But God, being Abba Father (Daddy), totally understands our frustrations. He says "no" or "wait" oftentimes because the timing is premature. Learning about God as ABBA will be described in greater detail in an upcoming blog post. *smile*
Let me ask you this: can you turn your WORRY into WORSHIP? Are you able to PRAY and WORSHIP your way out of that funk? Can you be real with God/Abba Father and tell Him how you truly feel, how burdened and sad you are? Are you able to confess everything that's plaguing your heart out AND still tell Him "no matter what happens, I will continue to serve You, love You and tell of Your goodness because You are GOD..."? Can you be troubled on every side, yet remain UNWAVERING in your faith? Also...if or when God actually blesses you with that thing(s) you prayed so fervently for, are you willing to give it back to HIM?! You read that last question right. Will you give it back to Him?
Let's do some deep introspection: Honestly, ask yourself: Can I, or am I willing to do that?
Does it seems hard to do that? Don't know how to do that? Allow Hannah to show you how.
"So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the .And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the , and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the , that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the . Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the , and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the remembered her.Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the ." (1st Samuel 1:9-20)
There are several things happening in this particular passage of Scripture.
Hannah knew her true source and utilized it. Instead of dwelling in her sorrowful spirit, she went to God in prayer and poured out. Although bitter in her soul, it didn't deter her from entreating the Father. Saints, we have to be rooted enough in our faith to know that, no matter what happens or how it might seem like God got His ears plugged up while saying "la la la, I'm not hearing you," you have to be bold enough to still pursue Him. How bad do you want it? More importantly, how bad do you want HIM over those things you're praying to Him about?
Second: She was rebuked and falsely accused by Eli of being drunk, simply because she prayed inaudibly. Her mouth moved, but no words were heard. This made me think about "church hurt." Many have left the church because of things done or said to them. Many have experienced hurt from leadership, fellow congregants, have endured false accusations and rumors, etc. That accusation could have stung Hannah to the point of sending her in the opposite direction. Instead, she respectfully responded by saying that she had no alcoholic beverage, but simply poured out of her soul before God. In turn, Eli spoke a blessing over her.
Third: VOW. A vow is defined as, "a serious promise to do something or to behave in a certain way."
How many of us made vows to the Lord, and kept them? How many have made a vow out of desperation and then regretted it? In 1 Samuel 1:11, Hannah vowed that if God blessed her with a son, she would give the child back to God. God opened her womb, and Samuel was conceived. After she weaned him, she gave him back to God. "For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there." (1 Samuel 1:27-28) She honored her vow to God.
Fourth: Importance of worship-individually and jointly. Elkanah and Hannah together, made God their first priority. They rose up EARLY, and worshipped before God. They placed God FIRST. They gave God the first fruit of their time. And afterward, they came together as ONE. The marital relationship is TRIUNE-God, man and woman. When a husband and wife worships together in spirit and truth, this is pleasing to God. It was THEN when He remembered Hannah's plea. Their son, Samuel was conceived. Samuel means, "because I have asked him of the Lord." If you read chapter two, it opens with Hannah's song of thanksgiving. After she fulfilled her vow, she gave thanks!
Have you ever did something nice, or even fulfilled a vow/commitment, then felt some type of regret afterwards like, "dang, I wish I could have kept this or that." I think we have all been there to some degree. Good example: giving a sacrificial offering in church for an extremely important cause. Because there was a need, out of the goodness of your heart, you gave; but inwardly, you are like "man, I had plans for that money..." *smacks lips in disgust* Hannah COULD have felt that way, but instead, she blessed God and gave thanks. As a result, God blessed her with FIVE more children. "And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD." (1 Samuel 2:21) The number five, in biblical numerology, means GRACE. God extended His amazing grace to Hannah. Just know that if you seek Him first, He will surely see about you! (Matthew 6:33) What God did for Hannah, He can certainly do the same for you.
Life is a journey, filled with ups and downs. There will be days and seasons where it seems like the blessings are on overflow. Then, there are days where the storms of life will blow treacherously. We will not always like the hand we are dealt. For example, have you ever played the card game, Uno? We are dealt a different hand each time. Sometimes we'll have a good hand; other times, our hand will look so poor, you just know that you're gonna lose. Well...life is like that to some degree. The key is this: with JESUS, we WIN, by default! Whether we have a "good hand" or a "bad hand" in the game of LIFE, JESUS is that "wild card" that changes the entire game. Back to Hannah: at first, it SEEMED like Hannah was dealt a bad hand. She didn't just accept it AS IS; she sought the Lord, and He blessed her tremendously. Hannah was unwavering and steadfast in her devotion.
God desires an obedient, yielded, unwavering vessel who He can use for His glory. Be unwavering in your FAITH and devotion towards God. I challenge you to TRUST God, no matter what. Remember that God is not only God, but Abba Father. Tell Daddy how you are having a hard time trusting Him, and how you need His help. Ask Him to help you, and seek His face. Make a vow to God and don't take it back. Remain fervent in your devotion, and watch God work.
I pray you were inspired,
1st Samuel 1 and 2
Psalm 37:4; 55:22
1 Peter 5:7
The Dake Annotated Reference Bible (KJV)
Life Application Study Bible (KJV)