Hannah’s Prayer

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So the woman went on her way . . . and her face was no longer sad. —1 Samuel 1:18, AMP

The smooth marble pillar felt cool against her back.

The roofed veranda provided shelter from the deluge of falling drops that tightly embraced the liquid inside their delicate membrane shells until the very last splat as they fell between the cracks in the stone walkway. But the woman was oblivious to the outside showers, so focused was she on the inner cresting wave that threatened to break through the carefully constructed façade that betrayed its fragility. She hurried now, frantically searching for a hidden corner away from the scornful taunting that echoed in her ears.

Away from the inner pulsing narrative that ricocheted around her heart: barren, cursed, rejected. Any place she could find where she could expose her fractured dreams to the One who had cared for her family in the past. How intent was she as she pled her cause, earnestly crafting her promises—if only God would hear and answer her prayers as He did for so many others! How like Hannah we are at times. Weaving an internal narrative based on external losses and seemingly hopeless circumstances. We shore up the defenses that allow us to summon joyless smiles and feign diligent busyness, all while desperately searching for a place to hide, an opportunity to drop the pretense in the presence of the One who knows and loves us best.

However, instead of the silence to which she had grown accustomed when seeking God, Hannah heard yet another rebuke, “How long will you be drunk?” Her stammered response, “Oh no, I am praying out of great sorrow!” were the only words that squeezed past her trembling lips. God must have impressed upon Eli’s heart the true nature of this exchange, and he finally saw her. Cowering, expecting continued judgment, Hannah heard words that stilled the tears that had threatened to join those already coursing down her face.

“Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition.” Hannah demonstrated her confidence that God had heard her prayer and acted on the given promise without any evidence of its fulfillment. Dear Lord, help me believe You hear my anguished prayer. Whatever I am facing is not the end of my story. I, too, can genuinely smile, knowing I can trust You, the Author of my life story, to fill the pages of my life with testimonies of Your goodness.

Charmaine Houston

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