” . . . .So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” 1 Samuel 1:18
A couple years ago, I read through the Bible in a year. It was a wonderful exercise that opened my eyes to so many stories and lessons I’d never seen in the Scriptures before.. . .or things that I’d seen before but hadn’t really been struck by the first time around.
I love it when that happens. Getting “struck” by God’s Word is what I live for. And it happened went I came to 1st Samuel chapter one.
At the beginning of the story a young woman by the name of Hannah is in despair. She cannot seem to have any children of her own and to make matters worse, her husband’s other wife, Peninnah – who is called “her rival” in Scripture – tortures her by constantly bringing this fact to her attention. With a brood of children to her credit, Peninnah makes provoking Hannah a hobby. Hannah is so distraught that she is overcome with emotion and is unable to eat. (1:8)
Unable to eat?
That’s some serious sadness, we’re talking about.
There ain’t much that has made me too desperate and emotional that I’m unable to wolf down a cheese burger. I might have shed a tear or two, but put a plate of nachos in front of me, dripping with all the right fixins and I’m bound to break.
But not Hannah. She was so sad internally that her body was affected externally. This is deep devastation that we’re talking about here. And honestly, that’s happened to me too. You ever been so upset by something that you couldn’t sleep, or eat or enjoy stuff that would normally put a smile on your face? I remember when my grandfather was in his last days. My mother, aunt, sister and I nestled down by his bedside at home to support my grandmother while her beloved slipped away. Seventy-two whole hours would pass before it happened and the entire time not one morsel of food passed my lips. I never had a hunger pang or even the faintest hint of interest in food. Just didn’t want to eat. Anything. For three days.
So, I get it.
But then Hannah prays – no, she begs Yahweh for a child and she cries out in such desperation that the priest thinks she is drunk and scolds her for it. But Hannah explains that she isn’t inebriated, just desperate for an answer from God.
But it’s what happened after that prayer that intrigues me most. Having spilled her deepest heart’s desire to the Lord: “the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” – (vs 18)
She was no longer sad.
God gave Hannah her appetite back. He gave her a zest for living even though her circumstances were still the same.
Amazing what pouring your heart out to God can accomplish.Yes, even before there is a sure answer.
Yes, even before there is a change in the situation.
If you’ve lost your appetite for life and love and joy. If you’re marked by fatigue and depression and weakness. If you have no interest in the things that used to interest you most. Hannah can tell you how to enjoy life again.
With only words uttered to God and a heart that believes He has heard and, in His own timing, will respond , there is power – enough power to give you your appetite back right then and there. This might be the greatest new year’s gift that prayer gives – enough power to change us even before we see any direct change in our circumstances.
To get us back to our hamburgers and enchiladas even while we still have some issues on the table of our lives.
When we truly give our cares away to God, there should be a lightening in the load we carry that allows us to get up and go on with life. That enables us to eat when our unsettled stomachs could hold nothing down the day before. To release us from the weight of sadness that often paralyzes us from doing and being what He has called us to do and be.
It’s the power of prayer – to change a life from the inside out, even before anything we’re facing has begun to shift.
Hope this blesses you today and causes you to pour your heart out to God about anything you are facing.
Then go eat something good. . . and be satisfied.