Snapshots: Day 175
The Snapshot: “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” (1 Sam 1:10) That thorn in the flesh in the form of ‘the other woman’ is what has brought Hannah to the end of herself. I don’t like being brought to the end of myself; I would never ask the Lord to do it, I’m a coward, but it has been at such times that I’ve reached to the depths of my heart and cried to the Lord and for some reason (!!!) He loves to be allowed into the deep places of my life. Perhaps it is because it is only there He finds reality. We are so good at pretense so much of the time and the Lord hates that and longs to see us being real, being honest, and unfortunately that so often only happens when we hit a crisis.
Further Consideration: When points of tension arise in our lives we can do one of two things: either struggle with them – or pray. The trouble is that sometimes answers to prayer don’t come immediately. That is why Jesus taught the parable of the widow and the unjust judge, “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Lk 18:1) But it is what goes on in those continuing days of pleading that counts. The temptation will always be there to give up, to call it a day and just forget about God. And yet, if we let the Holy Spirit do His work in us, then we will find He imparts to us a deeper reality of the situation.
Hannah came to a point of realising the depth of her frustration; she wanted a child, very much, and one was not forthcoming. Her ‘rival’ was keeping on at making her feel more and more unhappy, and yet more and more she felt it was right to pray and ask for a child, even if the more she prayed the more she anguished.
I suspect if we are honest few of us reach this point of anguish, rarely do we find circumstances that so bear down on us that we cry in prayer, even weep deeply as we pray. When we do, as Hannah did, I suspect it is a deep sense within us that this is the will of God we are praying for, and the more we pray the more important we realize it is – it is His heart, His desire for us, and because it is God’s desire it is vitally important and because His will is being delayed, there is this deep sense of anguish. We can’t make ourselves weep in prayer, in fact I have found that even when we catch a sense of what we want to pray, it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can pray and keep on praying. We need His help even to fulfil the teaching of Jesus’ parable. Yet, when that deep anguish comes, I believe it is like a turning point in heaven and somehow – in ways that go beyond our understanding – it enables God to open the doors of heaven to bring the answer we are seeking. There are depths of understanding here that go way beyond the usual activities of the intellect, understanding that only comes by the Spirit.