Something that I keep coming across is this…at some point even Christians, guys or gals, need a breakthrough in laying everything before God, knowing that he has heard their cry, knows the pain they’re carrying…and to then let go and fully trust him.
We all go through tough times when our heart is breaking and we need to take a determined stand in letting go and letting God! When we win through on this – despite opposition of any kind – we find a new outlook on life, something to look forward to (with patience, of course!), a refreshing in our spirits and a renewed assurance that God cares. It’s like really coming alive again!
Let’s know that with such refreshing comes inner deep awareness of God and personal revival within. It’s a time when God brings to life those things which may have been dead in us for a long time, giving victory over some prolonged burden that we’ve been carrying.
Some sort of miracle is needed to revive us, to refresh us and make us feel alive. And God is in the miracle-working business!
When our hearts are breaking, we need to know that our God knows – and cares. Genesis 3: 9 is a comfort here: ‘Israel’s cry for help has reached me. I have seen the way the Egyptians are beating them down’ (NIrV). In verse 7(Mge), God declared that ‘I know all about their pain.’ Think of ‘Egyptians’ as that burden. Instead of ‘Israel’ I can think ‘Maureen’…in your case, think ‘you’ – whatever your name is!
In 1 Samuel 1, we learn that Elkanah had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah was blessed with several children, but sadly Hannah had none.
It was a black mark against her – Peninnah was like a rival, like those heavy-handed Egyptians, and kept provoking her year after year to the point that poor Hannah would be so upset that at times she weep and could not eat.
You can really feel for Hannah, can’t you? But remember, it was God who had permitted her womb to be closed – at the time (v5). Now that’s not a happy thought about our generous God, but the reality is that sometimes he may allow us to experience disappointments, to encounter situations in which we feel let down, inadequate and inferior.
And why? In order to outwork his great plan for our lives. In reality such times bring us closer to him and the end result is something wonderful, not only for us but for others too.
If we can understand this, and really trust God, then Romans 8:28-39 are very comforting and precious scriptures.
Take, for example, verse 28. It’s very meaningful and reassuring – ‘That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good’ (Mge), as is verse 31 – ‘So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?’ (Mge).
Now we may or may not be carrying the same heavy, tormenting burden Hannah was – but whatever may be robbing us of contentment, happiness, peace and personal inner satisfaction, our God loves us and has a good plan. As we trust him, the outcome will bring us joy.
Whatever the problem, difficulty or challenge is, verses 37-39 link us with Jesus, God’s son: ‘None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.’
Hannah was fazed; desperate
She had Peninnah on her back. This woman was a type of our enemy Satan who exasperates and causes us to feel unproductive in our Christian life and service – and life itself, even mocking us at times and making us feel totally useless.
Then there was her husband, trying to help but not understanding: ‘Why are you weeping? Why can’t you eat? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?’
Sometimes those closest to us don’t understand our broken heart and they can only point to blessings we already have. They don’t appreciate that we know there is something more, something greater in God and we’re yearning for it.
Consequently not only would Hannah weep and not eat but she was so crushed in her spirit that she’d cry and cry inconsolably (1 Sam. 1:7, 10Mge). Are you feeling this desperate within? That you need a personal revival that will bring you alive again, so refreshed and with new hope in your heart?
Then maybe verse 11Message Bible is for you! For Hannah there came a watershed moment when she demanded of God that he …
- Take a good, hard look at her pain
- Quit neglecting her
- Go into action for her.
That was her bold challenge to the one she trusted!.
Verse nine relates Hannah’s turning point – she stood up. She had made a decision that would not only impact her own life but in its outworking touch the nation of Israel and future generations. She was so desperate!
But this was no lightweight quick prayer! Now the truth is that we don’t always have to keep on reminding God of our deepest needs…but sometimes we do!
Hannah kept praying and praying ‘in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard’ (verse 13Mge) and Eli, the old priest, wrongly thought she was drunk. She was, not with wine but with inner grief. Oh there had been a pouring out, but not of wine! She quietly confessed, ‘The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God,’ adding, ‘I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain’ (see v15-16).
What joy she encountered when the Lord’s peace suddenly came into her heart through the blessing, the prophecy that the old man faithfully gave her, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him’ (v10-l7).
And she did, now able to eat and rejoice. Personal revival had come to Hannah and she was refreshed, changed: ‘She ate heartily, her face radiant’ (v18Mge). God heard her cry and granted her a son – Samuel, who would become the great prophet of Israel. In fact, she would have five other children (2:21) to make her joy complete.
Seven-fold secret to revival and joy
Hannah’s prayer in chapter two, verses 1-11, after she had willingly given Samuel over to the Lord to serve him all his life, is surely a revival song: fresh, from the heart, inspiring. What a turnaround from being the woman who previously wept in bitterness of soul!
This is what true revival does for you when you seek God to bring about a refreshing, a miracle. There is a turnaround!
What was Hannah’s secret to personal revival and joy? She brought herself into such a time by …
- Believing – there was more in life, something better to be gained
- Turning – her back on her enemy’s tauntings
- Realising – that only the Lord could fully understand her needs
- Standing – up and making a definite decision to change the circumstances
- Handing – all of her brokenness over to the Lord
- Breaking – through In persistent prayer that indicated total dependence on God
- Receiving – peace and joy and resting therein.
The result was that Hannah was blessed and made her mark in the kingdom of God through her son Samuel, the greater blessing.
Look to God alone!
Don’t dwell on what seems to be the inevitable in the natural, but see the impossible supernaturally come about in God! Hannah could have resigned herself to being barren as her lot in life but she didn’t. She looked to God alone to make possible the impossible.
The result was that from a personal revival within, new life came from what was previously barren, empty, dry. And Hannah’s stand led to others being blessed. As the boy – the next generation – grew into the great prophet, national revival came to Israel and through David, the young man he would anoint and refresh. And in God’s timing…our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Now your name may not be Hannah…you may even be a man, not a woman. But if you’re carrying a heartbreaking burden, I assure you that God is great at releasing joy and new life.
Hannah means ‘favour’ …those who know Jesus as Saviour are under the favour of God. May her story encourage you to seek that favour and with it a refreshing within and the outworking of the impossible that can only come from our caring, loving Lord.
Hunger, thirst, and be desperate for the ‘more of God’ that he wants to give you. Discover your own ‘Hannah’s Secret.’