“And her face was no longer sad”– 1Samuel 1:18
Sorrow, for many persons, is a familiar emotion- even though one that they would rather not feel or experience. But its reality, though unpleasant, is starker than our desire to avoid or merely wish it away.
Hannah was you. The deep-seated sorrow which her condition of barrenness engendered could not be wished away or even pacified with the double portion given her by Elkanah, her husband, or more so by his love for her (1Samuel1:4-7).
And the same is true of many- present with us are problems that make us inconsolably sad. It could be a long-awaited desire for a spouse, or, like Hannah, for a child. Perhaps, it is a destructive habit that persists even despite following all the rules you know to follow. Again, Hannah was you.
Truth is: God has not left us without an answer. May I put it to you that joy is God’s will for his children(Psalm 16:11, John15:11). Not only is joy God’s desire, but He also delights in lavishing it on his children. God’s work in Salvation is to the end that He be glorified and that you, his child, be full of joy.
John Piper puts it beautifully when he said: “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him”. In other words, there is no tension or conflict between God’s glory and your joy when He is the object and source of your joy. And one of the means through which we access joy is prayer.
Prayer is fast becoming a desolate territory, an unfashionable adornment, an archaic weaponry. Unlike Hannah who, despite her bitterness of soul, retained and then launched the pitcher of prayer, today’s believer has jettisoned this tried and trusted drawer of joy for earthly cisterns that can hold no water. And this is rather pitiable.
How was Hannah able to break into joy- a joy that altered her countenance? She prayed to God, despite her anguish and bitterness of soul. Her intensity in prayer was such that Eli, the priest, reckoned her a drunkard. It was heartfelt; there was nothing flippant or superficial about it (1Samuel 1:12-16).
Believer, you too must take advantage of this rugged, yet reliable fetcher of joy called prayer. You often shortchange yourself and entertain misery because of your lack of stamina in the place of prayer. Jeremiah beckons on you today to ask for this ancient path and continue in it
Finally, our Lord Jesus Christ gave us an open cheque note: “ask until your joy is full” (John 16:24). Is your joy full? Why then have you stopped asking? This week, commit yourself to prayer like never, and experience unprecedented depths of joy- such that your very countenance exudes it. Consistency and heart-felt fervor is the key (James 5:16). Jesus is waiting- not only to hear you but to answer you.
God be with you.