“And Hannah was in distress of soul, praying to the Lord and weeping bitterly.”
I Samuel 1: 10
“A Father With an Unlimited Supply of Hankies”
Grief – “Deep mental anguish and sorrow.”
“The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”
John Vance Cheney
What experience in my life brought me a great deal of grief?
How did I go about handling my grief and sorrow?
“The finest flowers are often found growing in the soil of sorrow.”
G. B. Duncan
“Give sorrow word; the grief that does not speak whispers thee o’er – fraught heart, and bids it break.”
Years ago, if you had told me that Hannah would be teaching me some of the most wonderful lessons on establishing an effective and fervent prayer life, I would have doubted what you were saying. Especially when it comes to having faith that your unanswered or delayed answers to prayers will be answered in God’s time and God’s way. In the next five days, we’re going to uncover some of the most fantastic truths about the Father we pray to and about the way He encourages us to come to Him.
In deep despair and utter grief, Hannah, a childless woman, living in a contentious home with two wives, one barren and one who had a child, couldn’t take life and its troubles anymore, so she went to the only person she could trust and count on – her Father in heaven. And she laid her breaking heart open before Him at the temple.
I appreciate the way Marcia Mount Shoop, a minister in Chapel Hill, North Carolina describes Hannah’s prayerful approach to the God of heaven and earth. “Here the God who is involved in the dynasty that 1 and 2 Samuel will track is the God who hears and holds people like Hannah…She is there as her whole self – cultural baggage, broken dreams, audacious hope, and all.” This is how Hannah came to her Father. She didn’t hold back anything. She brought her grief and sorrow. Her tears and wailing. For she understood that while her Father was Master of the universe, He wasn’t too busy to be Master of her world, too. Isn’t that astoundingly wonderful to know. I love the way St. Augustine expresses this very thought when he wrote these touching words: “We are tossed on a tide that puts us to the proof, and if we could not sob our troubles in Your ear, what hope should we have left to us?”
Filled with emotions that were overflowing and misunderstood by family, friends and clergy, Hannah came to her Father to pray. As she walked into His dwelling place of comfort and His haven of hope, she gave Him her grieving heart.
So often I fear, in the most painful moments of our own lives, when our emotional state is out-of-control, just because those around us can’t understand or don’t want to handle the searing pain that finds it’s expression in our tears, we unfortunately make the assumption God can’t or won’t want to deal with our sorrow either. Yet, at the moment of our most striking loss and shocking pain is when heaven’s arms are opened widest to embrace us in a circle of hope and healing.
William Booth, who along with his wife, was the founder of the Salvation Army, describing the day his wife informed him that she had cancer, penned these touching words: “I was stunned. I felt as if the whole world was coming to a standstill. Opposite me on the wall was a picture of Christ on the cross. I thought I could understand it as never before. She talked like a heroine, like an angel to me. I could only kneel with her and try to pray.”
I love to hear Elvis Presley sing the old song, “Where Could I Go But to the Lord.”
“Living below in this old sinful world
Hardly a comfort can afford
Striving alone to face temptation,
So now won’t you tell me,
Where could I go but to the Lord.”
J. B. Coates
While Hannah’s husband regaled her with, “Am I not enough?” and Peninnah, the second wife, mocked Hannah with, “Where’s your God now?” Hannah brought her tears and grief and sorrow to her Father whose ear is always ready to hear, no matter the state we are in. Hannah’s life profoundly teaches us that in all times of unsurpassed sorrow due to unanswered prayers it will be true that, “The clouds of sorrow will reveal the sunshine of His face.” - Hilys Jasper
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”
“But God is not like human-kind;
Man cannot read the Almighty mind;
Vengeance will never torture thee,
Nor hurt thy soul eternally.
Then do not in this night of grief,
This time of overwhelming fear,
O do not think that God can leave,
Forget, forsake, refuse to hear.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.