On my mission to read the whole Bible one chapter at a time, I discovered one of my most favorite Biblical stories. It’s the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel.
So here’s how it goes–the very abridged version. Hannah wants a child, but the Lord has closed her womb. Her husband’s second wife has given him children, which doesn’t help. Her husband loves her regardless, but Hannah prays that if God gives her a child, she will give him to the Lord and not use a razor on his head.
I absolutely love this story because it is the storybook ending. God wrapped this one up with a bow and it just makes my heart sing when I read it. God gave Hannah a son, Samuel, whose name means “because I asked the Lord for him.” The very best part of this story comes in chapter 2 when Hannah prays a victory prayer. When I don’t know what to say to God in thanksgiving, I always go to 1 Samuel 2. I absolutely love this prayer and tend to read it with exclamation points at the end because I have felt this way and every time I read it, it reminds me of amazing moments in my walk with Him.
“My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. 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
Have you every wanted God to answer a prayer so badly that it just consumes you? I have. It’s like tunnel vision. I pray and analyze and pine away for His help, deliverance or blessing. I go back to when I wanted to be on Pi Phi exec or when I wanted a job and He delivered me. In comparison to a child, these are very small desires, but in the moment they were galaxy-sized. Fortunately, these were desires that aligned with Him. However, my timing was way off from what He provided. I was on exec one year later than I hoped and got my first job months later than I hoped, but boy am I glad for His intervention!!
I’ve been listening to a lot of Life Church podcasts lately and Craig Groeschel said something that really resonated with me … “Your deepest need becomes a gift when it drives you to depend on God.” Hannah’s deep need for a child became a gift in itself because it drove her to cling to dependence on God. Perhaps without this struggle in her life, she would be at a very different place in her faith. See how He makes all things work together for our good?
The thing about following Jesus is that it is not comfortable, like this lovely little athleisure outfit. There is discomfort and confusion and a lot of effort that has to go into it if you want your relationship to grow. In Hannah’s case, she would go to the temple and weep and pray because the longing of her heart was so strong. You can’t choose the easy, comfortable path with Jesus if you truly want to know Him. Our Lord is not a meek and appeasing man. Meek and appeasing people don’t grow you. Friends, God is going to grow you. He did with Hannah so wonderfully and, if you chase after Him with all you have–ALL YOU HAVE–He will change you too.
I tend to write all over my Bible, and at the very top of 1 Samuel I wrote, “From Hannah’s closed womb we see that He withholds from us for our good, His plan and His glory!” In Hannah’s case, her desires aligned with God’s. So, I challenge you to pray for desires that align with God’s. Not that He makes your desires come true, but that you truly desire the same things for your life as He does. That’s not comfortable, but then again, neither was the cross–and the cross ended up being a really good thing.
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Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.