1 Samuel 1:4-20

Hannah wanted something she couldn’t have. She wanted a baby. She wanted to carry her child in her arms. She wanted to be a mother. Hannah’s barren womb constantly reminded her that she was incomplete. The stigma of childlessness dominated her life and consumed her thoughts. Hannah was desperate, but in her desperation she was not forgotten.

Hannah’s Story
Hannah was married to a devout man named Elkanah. Elkanah sacrificed annually (1 Samuel 1:3) and seemed to care for his wife Hannah (1 Sam. 1:8). Hannah’s childlessness didn’t bother Elkanah because he had another wife, Peninnah, who gave him children (1 Sam. 1:2). The children brought Hannah grief rather than comfort because Peninnah flaunted her motherhood and ridiculed Hannah’s barren womb (1 Sam. 1:6). The annual time of worship served to accentuate Hannah’s pain (1 Sam. 1:7-8). From her perspective, God, as everyone else in her life, seemed unresponsive.

Perhaps you understand Hannah’s plight all too well. Perhaps you are experiencing similar pain. Hannah childlessness dominated her life. What dominates your life?
• Maybe you are jobless, wondering where you can find the next paycheck.
• Maybe you are an abandoned wife, wondering how the marriage vows could be tossed aside so casually.
• Maybe you are an unwanted child, wondering why your parents had you if they had no intent to love you.

If Hannah’s plight resonates with you, keep listening because Hannah found the hope you need to hear.

Finally, one year at the annual sacrifice, Hannah offered a desperate plea to the Lord. In deep distress, she prayed through tears (1 Sam. 1:10). She asked God once again for a child and vowed to give God the child if He answered her request (1 Sam. 1:11). Looking for affirmation from God, Hannah instead received rebuke from Priest Eli. Unfamiliar with sincere devotion in prayer, the priest accused her of drunkenness (1 Sam. 1:14). After she explained herself, Eli gave Hannah a glimmer of hope. He indicated her request would be granted (1 Sam. 1:17). The priest’s words proved prophetic. After Hannah returned home, she conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, similar to the Hebrew term meaning “heard of God” (1 Sam. 1:20). Though isolated in the world, Hannah was not forgotten by God!

God’s Message
As in all of Scripture, Hannah’s story teaches us about God. Specifically, it reminds us of three comforting realities:
1. God sees your desperate plight.
2. God hears your desperate plea.
3. God touches your desperate position.

God Sees Your Desperate Plight: From Hannah’s perspective, no one could see the depth of her pain. Her rival, Peninnah, ignored or ridiculed her. Her husband, Elkanah, tried to sympathize. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the man’s attempt at comfort only made Hannah feel worse. Instead of acknowledging her pain, Elkanah communicated that Hannah’s heartache was insignificant (1 Sam. 1:8). This only confirmed Hannah’s belief that no one saw her situation clearly. Her suffering went unrecognized.

Do you feel that your suffering goes unseen?
• Are you wrestling with grief that everyone assumes you’ve gotten over—or tell you to get over?
• Are you trying to hold together a family that looks perfect to outsiders?

Of course, Hannah’s suffering was not unobserved. God knew all along. Whatever your situation might be, find solace in the reality Hannah discovered. God sees your plight. His all-seeing eyes recognize your pain. Even if no one in your life recognizes your torment, God does!

God Hears Your Desperate Plea: Hannah’s cries had fallen on deaf ears. Her husband didn’t understand her pain, and the priest thought she was drunk! Perhaps you are growing weary of the deaf ears around you.

Do you ever feel the people in your life must be speaking a different language? Each time you reach out, it appears your words are stopped short by an invisible force field. You share your burdens and bare your soul only to be ignored or patronized.

When Hannah took her desperate plea to the Lord, she finally found receptive ears. God heard what others missed. So, she named her son Samuel, “Heard of God.” God heard Hannah’s humble, honest plea. He’ll hear yours, too!

God Touches Your Desperate Position: The fact that God saw Hannah’s plight and heard her plea would be small solace if considered individually. However, when added together and combined with God’s actions, they provide incredible encouragement. God not only saw and heard Hannah, but He also touched her life.

God granted Hannah’s request: She conceived and gave birth to a son, the answer to her prayers. However, the text reveals that Hannah’s sorrow lifted before her miracle arrived. After pouring her heart out to God, Hannah departed without sorrow (1 Sam. 1:18). God can rearrange your desperate position if you are willing to humbly hand it over to Him. This does not mean God will always rearrange our circumstances. However, it does mean God can rearrange our attitudes toward our circumstances!

Hannah wanted something she couldn’t have. She wanted a child. Hannah’s desperate desire for a child led her to discover the Father she needed. Don’t let your desperation lead you away from the Father. Instead, take your desperation to the Father, and you will discover the Father sees, hears and is ready to touch!

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