How many times have you wanted to give up, throw in the towel and no longer be bothered with what had hurt you the most? The pain others have inflicted on you, or while you have been waiting for something for so long that it had created a burning desire, a desire so deep that it ended up hurting you?
Perhaps you have been in the search of seeking acceptance, validation or even an identity. Maybe you’re one out of many, who have embraced the identity others attached to you. It became your second skin and as you grew older, you realized the person staring at you in the mirror is someone who you are not familiar with.
Perhaps false validation has hurt you to the extent that you are no longer able to function. Have family and friends betrayed, disappointed you while they pretended to be your brother or sister’s keeper? I could go on recounting different scenarios and I am sure that there would be at least one of them that you could identify with.
Now you look back and you see that something within kept you going. You may have thrown a few pity parties here and there. Lost all faith in people and even God, but each time you brushed yourself up and kept trying – one more time (Proverbs 24: 16 “a righteous man may fall seven times and RISE again). And If you happen to share traits with me, you will probably seclude yourself for some time in order to regroup. Regrouping comes in different shapes and forms. Getting closer to God and seeking his face for direction is one. Seeking wise counsel, taking time to ensure that you do not retrace the same mistakes again are other forms of regrouping. BUT what if you do repeat the same mistakes?
We have a lot of afflictions we face that tie our emotional being to the hurting process, but then also, there are situations we are responsible for. Yet, they work out for our good.
I have identified that; a lot of believers shy away from sharing personal failures. Everyone has a success story, but no one is willing to talk about the moments where the pain was so deep that they questioned God, His existence or His love. I believe in our walk with Christ and everything that comes along with it should be transparent. Otherwise, it makes the Christian walk absolutely pretentious, while on the contrary our walk with Christ, is a beautiful mess. Beautiful, because His love and grace covers so much of our mess.
Let us talk about Hannah’s story (1 Samuel 1). A lot of us may be familiar with it, but let me proceed to give a quick Summary. Hannah was married to Elkanah. Elkanah had another wife by name, Peninnah. While Hannah had no children, Peninnah did and mocked her for it. The custom was to go to Shiloh once a year and offer a sacrifice to God. Hannah being so hurt would go each year prayed to God to bless her with the fruit of the womb.
Now, the Bible is not specific in this chapter about how many years she had gone to Shiloh to pray for her own miracle. But, it must have been a substantial time frame as Penninah had several children. It states that each year she was mocked and was too sorrowful to not partake in the food that was shared amongst all of them. However, Hannah was persistent. The only weapon she had was her prayer and in her deep sorrow she could not even utter any word, as she groaned in prayer.
The priest, Eli thought she was drunk. If you can picture Hannah at the altar, weeping, groaning her hearts desire out to Christ! What a way to let her maker know what she was going through. Her persistence made her look crazy; it made her look desperate; it made her look drunk. But, she did not care who was there or the opinions of others. She was focused on her maker and the promise He needed to fulfill.
1st Samuel 1:17-18 says
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So, the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
The reason why these 2 verses are so specific are the following:
She had JOY before she even received her miracle.
How many times have we been mocked for the things we do not have, be it a spouse, a child, a job, acceptance – whatever it is. And there was always someone who made sure to remind us of what we did not have. But in Hannah’s case, her persistence led her to joy, not the child she was seeking God for.
Isn’t it funny how we ask for one thing, but God decides to prepare us for what he is about to grant us? Imagine, if Hannah was bitter because of her experience and a horrible mother to Samuel. Who knows, if she would have ever dedicated him back to God for Samuel to fulfill his own calling?
It takes a lot of confidence to tell God “Yes I am praying for this child, but once you give it to me, I will give him back to you”. How many of us can do this? Hannah knew her God, went to him, poured it all out, left it at the altar and returned with joy. If you have the time to read the entire chapter, you will read that indeed God fulfilled His promise and gave her a son, Samuel.
The process of being persistent and constant in the place of prayer, worship and praise may not be the easiest, you may not necessarily always “feel” like it, but you will always return with joy. There is an exchange in worship, in the place of prayer – after all he had said in his word, that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11 – I would recommend reading the entire chapter- it is so uplifting).
Joy is the indicator that hurt, or pain will not fester into bitterness. Like Hannah, she walked away with joy and joy gave birth to her miracle! God does not want us to be bitter in the process of healing. Neither does he want us to be so battered that we are unable to enjoy what we prayed for. My sincere prayer for you is that you will encounter joy, the joy that will wipe your tears away, so you can enjoy the miracle God has already granted to you!
May the physical manifestation of His promises cause a storm of testimonies before the end of 2020!
Be joyful, he’s still the waymaker!