“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
And Hannah answered and said No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.” – 1 Samuel 1:10-11;15 KJV
Have you ever wanted something so terribly that it became a deep burden on your heart? You find yourself praying and seeking God for Him to accomplish this. Is it something you cannot achieve without God’s helping hand?
Well, the main woman of 1 Samuel 1, Hannah, was all too familiar with this kind of situation. Hannah was the beloved wife of Elkanah. Life was good, in fact it was great if you were to look from the outside. She had a loving husband who always gave her a double portion of his treasures to convey his affection. However, looking beyond the surface, life was not so delightful for Hannah who only wanted one thing: a child, and more specifically a son. But she couldn’t. She was barren. Oh how heavy it was in that time for women to be unable to bear children. It brought on shame, guilt and feelings of inadequacy. A woman’s greatest wealth was her children. Hannah felt anything but wealthy at this point. To make matters worst, her husband’s second wife Peninnah provoked her by repeatedly pointing out the numerous children she had both sons and daughters.
So today, our key scripture verses express the deep pain, affliction and sorrow that Hannah experienced in her situation as she waited on God to fill a deep void and longing of her heart. Despite her prayers, her fasting, her efforts and tears, Hannah could not conceive. She remained barren. What about you? What is your barrenness? Perhaps for you it isn’t about being unable to bear children but perhaps it’s a dream. What is that dream that you simply cannot seem to give birth to in spite of all your cries to God, your prayers, and your tears? What is that dream that keeps you up at night? Or that desire that won’t go away and is leaving you in bitterness of soul like Hannah?
Maybe you have put in all the extra hours at work you could to get that promotion but somehow you are always passed over. Maybe you have been waiting for the right person to build a life with yet, despite the countless dates even with the women or the men at your church, you cannot find the one. Maybe you’ve applied for a mortgage on that house and you keep getting refused. Maybe you’ve been praying for a child to come back to God but your prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. Whatever it may be for you, that is your “barrenness”, that thing you are lacking and can’t seem to see come true.
Friend, many have walked the path you are on right now so believe me when I say you are not alone. From Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament to Zacharias and Elisabeth in the New Testament, many have had dreams and prayers left unanswered for a time. But be of good cheer, trust God, He knows the plans He has for you and He alone knows the perfect timing to fulfill them. God is saying to you “Do not be afraid, have faith, because your prayer has been heard. There will be joy and delight for you…” (Luke 1:13-14, emphasis added) God wants you to know that from the first day that you purposed this dream in your heart and humbled yourself, God had already sent the answer to you and your prayers were heard. Like Daniel, the answer may seem delayed but know that your barrenness won’t last much longer, your 21 days of waiting are almost over (Daniel 10:10-13) so have faith and trust God. Look beyond your barrenness and prepare for this dream to turn into a reality. Your barrenness is only temporary. Stand still and watch as your God gets ready to amaze you.
Lord, God of miracles, I know you hear my prayers. I thank you that you are concerned with every aspect of my life and that your plans for me are good. I release my desires and my dreams into your loving and faithful hands, and trust that you will bring them to pass at Your perfect timing and in Your perfect will. Thank you for helping me to trust your ways even when I cannot seem to understand them. I place my confidence in you Lord, because you are sovereign, still on the throne and nothing can escape you.
In Jesus’ Name, amen.