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Mar 25, 2006

A Special Answer for a Difficult Life

Background: An Ephraimite man named Elkanah, had 2 wives named Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had kids but Hannah did not.This is about a woman who strived, cried and prayed to God to answer her prayer and how God answers it.(1Samuel 1).There are sometimes in life, when you just don't understand why prayers are not getting answered. You're doing everything to make it happen, but it just won't.All other prayers are getting answered, but there is that one prayer, you know, is totally in conformity with God's will, but is not answered, yet.

Sometimes, the best in us can come out only through a rigourous trial.Are we prepared? We'll see how Hannah's life teaches us some lessons on faith in God.

  1. Don't give up on obedience to God--"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"(1 Samuel 1:3).Every year the whole family went to worship God, however Hannah did not try to escape Peninnah's taunting.-"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."(1 Samuel 1:7). She still went to the Lord, knowing that Peninnah would vex her there. Many times, when issues rise up because we turn to God, we tend to turn away from Him to avoid those problems, however Hannah teaches us that we should still continue in the Lord, no matter what we have to face, because our reward, our answer to prayer is in the house of the Lord, in the Presence of our God.
  2. Know the way out- Though Elkanah loved her more than Peninnah, Hannah knew what she wanted. She loved Elkanah too, however her heart had a deep desire for a child. She knew too well, that the ONLY way for her to get out of that terrible situation was to have a child and not just Elkanah's love, and she yearned for it. There could be many more options to solve a situation, but only one would be an answer, a complete answer to the situation. Only having a close relationship with God, when times are troubled, can we find it.
  3. Stand up-"Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up"(1 Samuel 1:9). Standing is a different thing-it is getting ready to act upon what God has put in your heart. Once God has shown you the way out, stand up and walk on it. Do what God has put in your heart. I think Hannah's standing up, shows to me that since God made it clear to her that her way out is only if she had a child, she wanted it.She stood up to follow it, her standing up shows us that she was desperate enough to go ahead and do what she probably had never done in all these years of her visit to the House of God.Do we stand up and get ready to follow whatever God shows us?
  4. Pray for it- "In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. 11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon 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
    "(1 Samuel 1:10-13) Now Hannah's prayer was not an ordinary prayer. She had now come to the point, that she wanted the child so bad, that she prayed in total surrender, not caring what others around would think. More than that, she even vowed to give the child back to God to serve Him.
  5. Misunderstood-Eli"....said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine." (1 Samuel 1:14). People around will never understand fully, what goes on between you and God. So we might be misunderstood, are we ready for that. Would we decrease our passion to pray for THAT PARTICULAR need just because we don't want people to get the wrong impression about us?
  6. God has seen your desperation and will answer in due time-"So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, [c] saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."(1 Samuel 1:20) Well Hannah's prayer was answered, but was answered in the course of time. God will answer prayer in the right time, when the time is right. When you know what God showed as an answer to you, it will be done, on time.
  7. Her desperate prayer answered and she did not forget her Lord- "I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there."(1 Samuel 1:27). In our dire need, we might ask God and vow before Him, and this is the point where many of us fall. Hannah did not. She meant serious business when she prayed. She understood what value her prayer meant before God and she honoured it. I wonder, would I be able to be like her?

Conclusion: At the end of reading and meditating upon everything that happened in Hannah's life, I wonder, what if Hannah would have found Elkanah's love, enough, to carry her through life? . Sometimes God takes us through desperated situations, only in order to bring out the best of the best within us. If Hannah would have had children easily like Peninnah, we would not have found a wonderful prophet like Samuel. We probably wouldn't have a specially dedicated book of the prophet Samuel. He wouldn't have been dedicated to God, because he wouldn't be a special delivery from God. For Hannah, Samuel was very special because she had received Samuel as a way, out of her barren situation. Well, in our lives too, we will have times when we'll be pressed hard to get to our answered prayer, don't give up. Let God bring out the best within us. A special delivery as an answer to our prayer.

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