Devotion: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
How many of you have had times like myself, where you’ve carried around a heavy load, done all that you can do in a certain situation, prayed several times over the situation, and yet you still feel like you’re not sure of how to proceed. You end up being stuck in between a rock and a hard place. We know that the bottom line is that God is in control. Even with that, sometimes our hearts still remain heavy.
This was pretty much what Hannah had to go through. Hannah was barren, and every year when she went to give worship and sacrifice to the Lord, her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, would taunt her to the point of fear because of the fact that God had shut up her womb. We all know that fear is from Satan himself.
And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.
I Samuel 1: 6-7, ESV
Hannah’s heart was so heavy, that she went before God’s throne of grace, pleading to God to open her womb:
11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.
I Samuel 1: 11-12, ESV
Hannah was so intentional with her prayers, that her mouth moved, but her prayers were submitted to God through her heart and her spirit. She was on a mission. Eli the priest thought that she was drunk:
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. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
I Samuel 1: 13-16, ESV
It was at this point that God gave Hannah a sign through Eli that he had heard her cry, and her prayers would be answered:
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
I Samuel 1: 17, ESV
God came through as he had promised, and Hannah followed through with her promise that she had made to the Lord:
24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”
And he worshiped the Lord there.
I Samuel 1: 24-28, ESV
About six years ago, when I was at the peak of my valley, everything in my home was in an uproar. I had done everything that I could possibly do, been taken advantage of, and with a heavy heart, I went to the Lord for help in a prostrate position. I felt led to write out the prayer that King Jehoshaphat prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:
12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
God laid it upon my heart to pray this prayer for the next forty days. As the days went on, spiritual warfare hit from every corner. I was on a mission, and I continued to pray. My friend and I decided to get together to pray on one accord with this same prayer New Year’s Eve night. Our kids were upstairs hanging out, and we were downstairs praying. The kids came downstairs a few times to grab food, and were looking at us as if we were crazy. But just like Hannah, we kept praying. We prayed this prayer so hard and so long till our mouths dried out, and we could no longer talk. Like Hannah, we needed an answer. We joked around about whose prayer God would answer first. And as in Hannah’s situation, God answered our requests. My prayer was answered thirteen days later. I don’t remember how quickly God answered hers. God split the Red Sea so that I could leave Egypt. Praise God for his word and his promises!
Thank you for your word and your promises. Thank you that when our hearts are heavy with grief, you are still there. You never change. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Please comfort our hearts when we just don’t know what to do, knowing that you are in control, and will give us instructions when the time is right.
In your precious name we pray,