When things are not going your way, it is hard to have a good attitude about it. I should know. I have been known to throw myself a pity party just because my internet goes down. But what about the more serious things in life? What if someone you love has cancer and isn’t getting any better despite all the prayers? What if you have been out of work for way too long and aren’t sure how you are going to get by anymore? What if you have been trying for years and years to get pregnant and still haven’t been able to?
This is the situation Hannah found herself in. You can find her story in 1 Samuel 1–2. She was married to a man named Elkanah, and they had been trying for many years to have children with no success. To make matters worse, Elkanah had another wife who did have children. And to make matters even worse, this wife was terrible about the whole thing and constantly made Hannah so upset she would just cry and refuse to eat.
One year when Hannah went with her family to worship and offer sacrifices to God, she made a vow to the Lord to give her child to him if he would just allow her to become pregnant. She continued to pour out her heart to God in the Temple. She was so earnest in her prayer that the priest accused her of being drunk. But when she explained her situation to him, he blessed her.
But here is the part that gets me. After her exchange with Eli the priest, “She said, ‘May your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast” (1 Samuel 1:18, NIV). What was it that changed Hannah’s heart? Was it the moment when she found out she was pregnant? (Spoiler alert: She does get pregnant and has a son named Samuel.) No, she found her peace after pouring her heart out to God. The Bible says she went on her way and her face was no longer downcast. Hannah did receive a miracle from God, and I’m sure it was the cause of much rejoicing. But just being in God’s presence and being honest and open with him was a turning point in her sorrow.
I love how Hannah’s honesty with God and with the priest gave her freedom to lift her head and have hope. It’s far too easy to shut God out when things are not going our way, and that goes for the small things and the big things. But he wants to know our hearts. He wants us to be honest with him. And he is not too small to handle our anger, our sorrow, or our disbelief.
The next time you find yourself with a downcast face, whether it is just a day that’s not going your way or a serious struggle, try taking a page from Hannah’s book. Pour out your heart to God and maybe a good friend. Leave it all at his feet, and just see if you don’t feel lighter right away.
by Lauren Bratten
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)
Jesus, thank you so much that you desire to hear the cries of my heart. Please take my burdens from me so I can lift my head. Give me hope and faith that you are going to move in my situation.