Desperation is a place of no hope with intolerable circumstances. How we react to despair can honor or dishonor God.
For years, Hannah faced her desperation with weeping, sulking, and sorrow. Remember her? Elkanah’s wife?
“He had two wives: the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children” (I Samuel 1:2, NKJV).
There’s no pain like the ache of empty arms. It was always with Hannah – but there were times when the reality of her situation was more than she could bear. When they went to Shiloh to worship and offer their family’s sacrifice, Elkanah would dole out the family portions to celebrate God’s acceptance of their peace offering. She felt so empty and hopeless, even though he gave her the choice cut and tried to honor her. During those times, seeing all of his children and their mother, Peninnah, laughing and eating together was like rubbing salt in her wound.
Year after year she would refuse to eat, as she sat there in humiliation, wiping away unbidden tears. Peninnah reveled in those moments, taunting her with her eyes and sharp comments.
Year after year Hannah’s desperation would drive her out of the celebration, as her tears gave way to sobs. For hours, Elkanah would try to comfort her, frustrated because he didn’t know how to make things better.
However, this particular year, her heart was so desperate, she never made it to the privacy of her tent to weep, but fell on the floor of the temple, crying. Her heart was laid bare before God.
“Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life” (I Samuel 1:9-11).
Eli saw her desperate prayer and mistakenly thought she was drunk; but after listening, he gave her his blessing and spoke hope into her hopeless heart!
The continuation of this story is intriguing and colorful, but I want to end my thoughts here. What are you doing with your desperation? Weeping? Complaining? Pouting?
I challenge you to cry out to God, commit your future to Him, and make hopeful plans!
Your desperation is God’s opportunity for hope and healing. Don’t give up. Allow the word of God to speak life into your situation. Commit your plans to God. Make a vow. He will give you joy for sorrow. The garment of praise will dissolve the spirit of heaviness. (Read Isaiah 61.)
Wanda Chavis serves the North Carolina District as Ladies Ministries president. She is a women’s health and hydration consultant and a published author.
(Information from: PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries – firstname.lastname@example.org)