We’re all waiting for something. Each one of us has a desire in our heart that hasn’t been answered by God. We’re seeking and longing and questioning. Wondering if He’s really heard us or if He even cares. There’s a craving and a searching that can’t be quenched, no matter how hard we strive. We want that thing so badly and yet it seems so far out of reach.
Hannah in 1 Samuel understands our longings. She desperately wanted a child but she was barren. God had closed her womb (1 Samuel 1:5) and she petitioned Him year after year to no avail (1 Samuel 1:7). She was belittled by the other women which led her to weep and not eat (1 Samuel 1:7). Though her husband loved her more than his other wife (1 Samuel 1:5), she felt empty and grieved.
Every year she and her family would go to the temple to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD. One year she was so distressed that she laid it all out before God, every feeling, every desire, even a vow. Her heart was speaking, her mouth was moving, but no words came out. She looked like a drunk. Eli the priest told her to leave. But, she told him that she was pouring out her heart to the LORD, that she was giving Him her heart’s desire. Eli blessed her. Her spirit was renewed and the LORD heard her cry and answered her prayer. The next time she would return to the temple would be with her son, Samuel.
The Moment of Peace
I love that after Hannah poured out her heart to God in the temple she was the moment she was filled with hope; she “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” (1 Samuel 1:18) It wasn’t after she had the baby she longed for – it was after she had surrendered her will to God’s. The difference from this year and the others wasn’t the rituals or the legalities, but her heart. This year Hannah gave everything to God – the good, the bad, and the ugly; her wants, desires, and fears. She poured out her entire soul before Him and in it’s place God gave Himself.
It’s a scary thing to surrender everything to God. It requires faith and trust. And like Hannah, it may take time to get to that place of surrender, but (also like Hannah) we will be filled with hope, peace, and joy when our hearts get there. But there’s no check list that will quicken it’s arrival (read: legalism doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried.).
But, prayer does work. The Spirit moves on our behalf and is eager to do the work of the Father for us and in us (Romans 8:26-27). Even if you’re not at the place ready to give total surrender, just giving that to God opens the door that brings hope, peace, and joy. Telling Him every fear, concern, and hesitation lifts the burden we carry. Confessing anything that may be revealed in that time brings forgiveness and reconciliation. He already knows it all and He loves us still. He wants to have a relationship with us and that starts with pouring out our hearts to Him.
The wait can be difficult; it can take more time than wanted or expected to get what we desire; but there can be peace and joy in the meantime. Talk to Him, He’s listening.
And who knows, your desires may just line up with His in the process…
I’d like to encourage you to spend some time in prayer, opening up your heart to God. Find a quiet place to focus your attention on Him (maybe grab a pen and journal – writing tends to help draw out the places of your heart that you didn’t realize were there). Even if you start out with just 5 minutes it won’t be wasted. Try to make this a part of your daily routine (again, not to make this legalistic – you’re not going to be punished for not sticking to it – but, the benefits of spiritual disciplines like this are beautiful and crucial to spiritual growth).
Know that I’m praying for you.
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