A Woman With A Serious Problem, Part 3- Prayer And God’s Providence
How should we deal with suffering? Rebekah Hughes continues her series on Hannah, with thoughts on prayer and God’s providence.
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God Providentially Guides
We have been learning from the life of Hannah as narrated in 1 Samuel. If you haven’t read the account recently, I encourage you to do so this week. In reading the account we see Hannah was a woman with some serious problems.
Many of us, it not all of us, can relate to such a woman. We will not escape problems in this life. There are hard roads to travel as we wait longingly for our eternal dwelling. We know that God sovereignly governs over all and we can rest in Him.
Come now and know that God providentially guides all circumstances and see how Hannah earnestly pours out her soul.
God Has A Purpose For Suffering
In 1 Samuel, we are told the Lord closed Hannah’s womb.
Don’t think for a moment that God is blind to your problems. Don’t believe that He is not present in your suffering. The LORD of hosts is with us. Whatever problems or suffering God brings into your life, you can be confident that he has a purpose for it.
Our suffering is hard to bear, but God will use it to bring us to Him to find the solution that He had in mind.
And so after they eat and drink, while in Shiloh, Hannah rises and earnestly pours out her soul to the One who providentially guides all of life’s circumstances.
Hannah Makes A Vow
E.M. Bounds wrote: “ . . . none but the earnest man gets access to the ear of God.”
In her distress, Hannah prays to the LORD of hosts. Not only has the nation of Israel reached its depths, she personally cannot go on without surrendering to the One who rules over all.
God brought her through the suffering to bring her to the place to vow the vow we read in 1 Samuel 1:11:
“O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
At that time, if a woman vowed a vow, on the day her husband heard of it he could oppose the vow she uttered and void it.
Eli, the priest could see Hannah as she prayed. But, she was speaking only in her heart. Her lips moved, but her voice was not heard, so her vow could not be voided.
But, Eli misunderstood her to be a drunk woman out of control rather than a devout woman completely surrendering herself to the Lord.
God’s Plan For Hannah
Hannah’s barreness grievously distressed her. Hannah’s God graciously delivered her.
In her affliction, Hannah felt forgotten. In his faithfulness, God remembered Hannah.
If she had not had years of barrenness and suffering would she have so earnestly made this vow to the Lord?
Hannah pours out her soul to the Lord. The Lord grants her petition to give her a son.
God brought suffering into her life to bring her to a place of surrender so she would be prepared to give him back her son.
God knows what it will take to bring us to the place of surrender and He will by His providence guide us right to that place. He directs all things to accomplish exactly what he has, in advance, purposed to unfold.
William Cowper, a poet in the 1700’s, who suffered from grievous problems and sank into deep despair in his life, wrote these words:
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.”
Prayer And God’s Providence
We are to be a people who earnestly pray. Prayer and God’s providence go hand in hand. The one who trusts that the Lord providentially guides stands on a firm foundation.
Hannah had a problem, but she turned to the Lord and trusted in His plan.
Whatever problem you may be facing in your life right now, will you earnestly pour out your soul to the Lord?
Come back next week as we learn from Hannah that God graciously gives us all things.
Rebekah Hughes survived a rare childhood cancer that left her with only one functioning lung, but the aggressive treatment she received to kill the cancer, severely damaged her heart. She shares her insights to encourage us as we walk the path God calls us to, whether in calm or in crisis. Rebekah produces Take Heart and Cut to the Heart for HopeStreamRadio. In her program she reflects on spiritual lessons from her observations of life, to encourage and strengthen us in our faith.
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Images Courtesy Of:
Sad: W A T A R I
Suffering:María Victoria Heredia Reyes
Prayer: Jeremy Yap
HopeStreamRadio has been a huge blessing to me. Since I moved away from an area that had a lot of good Christian radio I have been looking for a station that I could listen to and be encouraged by. HSR has filled that void and it has also been exciting to be a part of the team that contributes to HSR.Mike from MS