Leading The Way - Week of October 29
A Prayer of Brokenness
Have you ever been broken before the Lord? Have you come to the end of yourself, realizing that your efforts had failed and your only hope remains in God? Brokenness is never easy to experience, but God can bring great blessings through your trials.
1 Samuel 1. Hannah was a selfless, gracious woman trapped in a miserable situation. She was unable to bear a child for her husband Elkanah. His other wife, Peninnah, not only had provided him children, but she constantly antagonized and mocked Hannah. "And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat" (>1 Samuel 1:6, 7).
After years of longing for children and enduring the constant humiliation from Peninnah, Hannah was broken. In her desperation and anguish, she turned to God in prayer. She turned her den of misery into a chamber of prayer. She had been emotionally weakened, but she was spiritually strong in the Lord.
Through her tears, she vowed to God, "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head" (1 Samuel 1:11).
Hannah knew God was the only One who could answer her cry for a son. She knew God was the only One who could sense the agony of her spirit. He is the same God today who knows the depth of our despair. He knows our deepest desires and greatest longings. He wants us to cry out to Him in our brokenness. "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears" (Psalm 18:6).
God responded to Hannah's cry, and she gave birth to Samuel. In keeping with the vow she made to God, she gave Him her only child. Although Samuel grew up serving God at the temple, Hannah was not bitter over releasing her son to God. Instead, she gave a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving: "There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God" (1 Samuel 2:2).
God continued to bless Hannah with children. After years of what looked like a hopeless situation, she received her prayer request not just once but several times. "Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, ‘May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.' Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord" (>1 Samuel 2:20,21).
God wants to bring blessings out of our brokenness. He is a loving provider whose power is limitless. People and things will fail us, but God's security and strength abide forever. His compassion is inexhaustible. His peace is unexplainable.
In your hour of desperation, where do you turn? Do you tell your troubles to anyone who will listen, or do you seek the throne of grace?
"The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer."
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