The woman stood at the doorway. It was as close as she could get to the Inner Courts, being a woman. Her heart was broken. No, it was more than broken. It was crushed. She could not eat. Her emotions were raw, having never had the opportunity to heal, as her sister told her over and over again, day after day what a failure she was. “You are cursed! Worthless! What good are you? You cannot even do that which you are supposed to do.” She heard the words again and again. She could take no more!
Her husband loved her. She knew this. He thought it was enough. It was not. There was something missing from the core of herself. Her dreams lay burned upon a heap of ashes much like the sacrifice she and her husband had given earlier to the priest. Well, they were here to worship the God of all creation, were they not? If He is the God of creation, she thought, He can certainly create life from the ashes of her despair. So, she prayed.
Years of desperation, hurt, and unfulfilled dreams poured from her heart as she addressed the Lord of all. Her mouth moved, her body swayed, and tears flowed from her eyes as the sobs shook her body. Her heart cried our before the God of Israel but no sound escaped her lips. “G…o…d!“ Her heart shouted within her. “Lord of Heaven’s Armies, can you see me? Do you see how much I am hurting? If you will just look at me! If you will just look into my heart and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours his entire life. I won’t even cut his hair, just so others know He belongs to you.”
It was likely a combination of the hunger and complete anguish, but she was unable to stand steady and stalwart as a proper woman would do at the doorway to the Tent of Meeting. She was very close to falling on her face before the Lord of Hosts. The priest sitting at the doorway looked at her in disgust. He walked toward her. “Woman, really?! You came here drunk! What a disgrace. What an embarrassment you are to your family.”
“No! No, Sir! I’m not drunk.” She lifted her head a bit and locked eyes with the man in front of her. “I am not a wicked woman, as you suppose. I am hurting! I am desperate! And the Creator of the Universe, to whom I have prayed year after year, is my only hope.” Her heart cried, “Cant you see my heart!”
The priest shook his head. He could see the anguish in her eyes. “Yes. Yes. I see it now. Go in peace then. I will pray for you. May the Lord grant the desire of your heart and that for which you have asked of Him.”
Hope filled her heart. Where sorrow had been, hope now lived. She put aside the sadness. She had decided to focus on the hope before her. It would be a great adventure, she decided-to choose hope rather than despair. For who hopes for that which they can already see? She remembered Father Abraham, who hoped above all hope and believed for that which he had not seen-a legacy of offspring.
The first week of advent is one of HOPE. Advent awaits that which is expected. Hope expects. It lies in wait for dreams to fulfilled and promises to be kept.
For generations the Israelites had waited in hope for the long awaited Messiah. Much like Hannah, they were desperate and broken hearted. They sought deliverance from those who persecuted them, telling them they were worthless. They cried out, “Deliver us!”
Unlike Hannah, they were looking for a King, but THE PROMISE came as a baby. And many missed the promise for which they lain in wait, prayed for, pled for, wept and cried for until some may have thought they were drunk. They missed it because they did not see that promises fulfilled must often grow within us and before us. Our hearts must be prepared and made ready. Hope is an adventure, for we do not always see what is ahead.
I do know this for certain-I can place my HOPE in HIM, the author and the finisher of my faith. He is a promise keeper! He will challenge us to grow and will increase our boundaries, bit by bit, moment by moment. He will grow within us and before us the adventure of our hope, for HOPE is Having Our Possibilities Enlarged!
What about you? What are you hoping for? What have you pled for and prayed for, wept for until your body swayed and your feet staggered? In HIM there is HOPE! The promise may not come how you expected or when you wanted, but He is a good God. He is the giver of all good things.
Keep in mind, Hannah set herself before the Lord of all Creation. She served Him and worshipped Him, long before she even received a word the promise would be fulfilled. She was faithful. Now, sometimes we may falter. We may fail. But our God is faithful, even in our unfaithfulness.
A Call to Action:
I encourage you, be faithful in the little things, even before you receive word the promise is coming. Serve Him. Continue to pray and seek Him. Hope expectantly. Keep your eyes focused on the One true King who defies expectations. Be ready for what He offers, for what He brings. Be prepared for the adventure. Continue to Hope.
If you do not know this Hope, Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lord, I tell you, He wants to be known by you. He is as close as the breath upon your lips. Cry out to Him and He will answer you. He is no longer a baby. He grew into our promise fulfilled, the Hope of the world, the hope of your heart and my heart. Speak His name and then, as Hannah did, set yourself to finding a place of worship. Yes, you can worship wherever you are, but life was not meant to be lived out alone. Find some other folks who have cried out to Jesus and meet with them. You can usually find them in your local church. And then set about serving Him and others. Read the Bible, pray (Have conversations with God). These are some of the best ways to get to know Him and His people.
Some Scripture to Help You Out:
- Romans 15:13
- Psalm 39:7
- Psalm 130:5
- Romans 8:25
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
NEXT:. The Adventure of Faith