28 May CRYING OUT IN DESPERATION
Have you ever poured out your heart to the Lord because of your desperation? I certainly have. Many times as a missionary in Africa I cried out to the Lord and unashamedly bared my soul to God. These were often desperate times — of family illness, danger, or even ministry roadblocks. Now, as President of Grace Bible College I still feel the necessity to regularly get on my face before the Lord to pour out my soul to Him.
I’m sure you must have done this as well in your life — as you come to the end of yourself and turn to the Lord in desperation. It is then that He has our full attention and heart’s allegiance. In the Scriptures we see this in Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She finds herself in a desperate situation and under the constant harassment of Elkanah’s other “child-bearing” wife, Peninnah. Hannah had a loving husband as best we can tell, but she desperately wanted to bear him a child and was unable. I can attest from my years in Africa that women in some cultures are never fully considered adult or significant until they bear their first child. What a desperate state she found herself in! She goes to the Lord and cries out to Him in 1 Samuel 1:10-16. Her desperation is so real it is interpreted as drunkenness by Eli the priest.
God loves a truly dependent heart that cries out to Him in desperation. Later in the passage we read, “and the Lord remembered her.” But the beauty of the account isn’t just in the fact that God looks down on His beloved follower and grants her request in a special way. (He does that all through Scripture and even today!) What set Hannah apart is the actions and words she uses in response to God’s intervention and granting of her request. She takes that one and only beloved child of promise (just as Abraham did with Isaac) and gives him to the Lord! She totally realizes where the blessing comes from, and obviously goes to Eli the priest and states, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high….There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God (1 Samuel 2:1, 2).”
Hannah’s actions in 1 Samuel 1 and 2 are intentionally contrasted with the positional favor of Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas. These ones who graciously were given positions of honor abused them and were evil before the Lord, reaping the prophecy that they will be cut off from the future. Hannah and her lack of children on the other hand are blessed and given a future of blessing. God loves to hear and answer the prayers of His children!
Cry out to the Lord with the burdens and troubles of your heart. God does want to hear it all! Be prepared for His answers. Start planning your prayers of thanksgiving to God like Hannah did, as well as the accompanying actions that show to God your devotion and worship to Him.