Friday 27th March Anthony

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‘From Heartache to Happiness!’

An edited version of the Message that would have been given on Mothering Sunday, 22nd March by Anthony.

Please read 1 Samuel Chapter 1 verses 1-20 and verses 24-28

Several years ago when our children were much younger, one of them sent my wife Doreen a Mother’s Day card which said ‘Mum, thanks for your care, affection and financial help. At least I can return the care and affection!’

This Mothering Sunday we look at a woman who desperately longed to be a mother. Her name was Hannah. Her story is told in 1 Samuel Chapter 1, and in those verses we are confronted by the truth in verses 1-8 that

  1. HEARTACHE IS A REALITY WE ALL KNOW AND UNDERSTAND!

The reality she faced was that, so far, she had been unable to provide any children for her husband Elkanah. So to -

The cruelty she endured. Part of fallen human nature is seen in people having, or being able to do something, and then flaunting it in the face of those who haven’t got it or can’t do it! This was the case here because Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, was able to bear children, and didn’t she let Hannah know it!

So verse 7 says ‘her rival provoked her till she (Hannah) wept and would not eat.’

What a challenge Peninnah’s behaviour is to us as Christians, not to be cruel but to be kind, not to provoke or crush others but rather to get alongside them to encourage and strengthen them.

And what a word about our speech – ‘Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff – and shut it when I’ve said enough!’ But Hannah’s heartache was made worse by

The love, yet insensitivity she met from her husband! Verse 8 has him saying to Hannah ‘why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat?...Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?’ Here is another lesson, the need for us as Christians to be more sensitive to others’ situations and feelings than we are; to be wise and careful in what we say, endeavouring to see things through others’ eyes.

So we move to

  1. HER RESOLVE, WHICH IS AN INSPIRATION TO EVERY BELIEVER!

to ‘take it to the Lord in prayer.’ Truly we are meant as the children of God to turn our cares into prayers however big or small the issue may be, not least at the moment with the Coronavirus pandemic for, if it matters to us, it matters to Him! And we note where Hannah prayed - in God’s house, the temple at Shiloh, on the occasion of their annual visit. We can pray to the Lord anywhere; but sometimes when we are in God’s house, focussed on Him, it may just draw from us something that is lying deep in our hearts. And she prayed

 

 

With a full heart!

Verse 10 ‘In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.’ How tears are so often the accompaniment of a prayer earnestly made. And she prayed

In faith! Hannah was standing on the truth that ‘with God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19 verse 26). I like that definition of faith, ‘God-confidence’, for faith is confidence in God’s power and His love, that He can do all things and that He responds to even the faintest cry.

Hannah also prayed

With a vow that if the Lord should bless her with a son then, verse 11, ‘I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life.’

There is a sense in which all Christian parents pray that prayer, or should pray that prayer for their children, that those He gives to us we give back to Him for Him to use as He will.

I love that saying which goes ‘There are only two lasting things we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.’

We feel for Hannah for even at the temple, praying, she had to endure the heartache of misunderstanding for Eli, the priest on duty, seeing her lips move but hearing no sound, thought she was drunk! However she reassured him that this was not so, receiving in turn his benediction. So she left the temple

With joy in her heart! Though outwardly her circumstances had not changed, she was now joyous and resolute, full of assurance here prayer would be answered. We come therefore in verses 19-20 and 24-28 to

  1. GLADNESS THAT FILLED HER LIFE, FOR OUR GOD LOVES TO BLESS!

There is a lovely turn of phrase in verse 19, ‘the Lord remembered her’. That doesn’t mean He had forgotten Hannah, simply that the moment had arrived for Him to work out His purposes and answer her prayer. She became pregnant, and in due course Samuel was born, a name which means ‘asked of God.’

Then in due time and in obedience to her vow Hannah took the young Samuel to Eli at the temple for him to work alongside and help this priest. Samuel was to become

A significant figure, a prophet and judge among the people, and one who anointed both Israel’s first king, Saul, and his successor David. Hannah was to be

Additionally blessed as in due course she gave birth to another three sons and two daughters. Truly ‘The Lord is no man’s debtor’! And overall is the

Encouraging truth that the Lord is able to take all of us ‘From Heartache to Happiness!’ He does not like to see us as His children in sadness and despair. He longs to bless, and for us to be filled with the joy of the Lord! Look to Him, share what is on your heart with Him, and then see Him work as only the living God can, and then give Him all the praise! AMEN!

 


Page last updated: 25th April 2020 11:40 AM