What to do with Heartache
May 28 2012
Provoked, Irritated, Sad Heart, Distressed, Weeping Bitterly, Troubled in spirit, Great Anxiety, Vexed…
Have you ever found yourself experiencing one of these emotions? Maybe it’s a relationship that takes everything out of you, an opportunity you feel like you’ll never receive, an immense disappointment that you can’t seem to let go of, or a goal that is seemingly just out of reach. We’ve all experienced heartache in one form or another, and we’re not alone. All of these are descriptions of how Hannah was feeling in 1 Samuel 1. Barren, and taunted because of it, she went to the temple to cry out to the Lord to give her a son.
We can learn a lot from the way Hannah handled her troubles:
1. Hannah didn’t take things into her own hands.
On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.
Peninnah sounds like nothing more than a schoolyard bully. She mine as well have been saying, “Na na na na na, I have kids and YOU DON’T!” Hannah could have fought back, plotted revenge, or, like Abrahams wife Sarah, she could have used a maidservant to take it into her own hands.
Hannah chose to trust the Lord. She chose to run to Him during her time of trouble. She didn’t spew hatred back at Peninnah or try to figure things out on her own. Instead, Hannah ran to the Lord to fight her battle for her. She trusted it was Him who could bring her victory.
2. Hannah poured out her soul to the Lord.
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.
By default, we often call a friend or family member when we have something to vent about. If Peninnah was as mean as she seemed, it would have been easy for Hannah to find an ally to agree with her. Instead, Hannah was found pouring her soul out to the Lord in prayer with such intensity that Eli thought she was drunk!
Hannah modeled the importance and power of prayer. She came in like a cup full of dirt – sadness, anxiety and irritation. When she left, verse 18 says her face was no longer sad. The most powerful part about prayer is that we empty ourselves of the filth and God fills us up with his spirit and his promises.
3. Hannah gave credit to the Lord for her victory.
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”t
Hannah bore a son – the promise God gave her came to pass. Many times when we get a breakthrough in our circumstances, we move on with our lives and forget that it was the Lord who did it all. Hannah dedicated her son to God, and named him Samuel because it meant “I have asked for him from the Lord.” His life was a constant reminder that it wasn’t luck, good fortune or happenstance that brought victory — it was the Lord!
If you can relate to some of the emotions Hannah was experiencing, would you pray this prayer with me today?
Lord, I thank you that I don’t need to take things into my own hands but I can trust you. Thank you that I am able to pour out my soul to you and that you hear my prayers. I pray for victory in my circumstances and that when the breakthrough comes, I would give you all the honor, glory and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Melissa Miller leads the Women’s ministry at Urban Church in San Diego, California. She also has a passion for parenting, writing, speaking and putting a stop to human trafficking. You can follow her on twitter at @MelSMiller.
May 28 2012