I want us to sit with about another Old Testament woman that I studied along with the girls at She Reads Truth. Today I want to urge us to think about Hannah. I love that the Bible doesn’t cover up the interpersonal nastiness in these Old Testament stories. The New Testament went for brevity – but these passages give us little juicy nuggets to think about. Here’s what caught my eye in the Hannah story found in I Samuel chapter 1:
Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.
Hannah replied, “I am a woman with a broken heart…I’ve been pouring out my heart before the Lord…I’ve been praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment.
The next morning Elkanah and Hannah got up early to bow in worship before the Lord.
We all know the visual – she was praying quietly but moving her lips and seemed so distressed that Eli thought she was drunk. Nope. Just a woman with a broken heart, pouring out the depths of her anguish and resentment.
And I pause.
Honestly and emotionally spending her time at the sacred place in Shiloh to pour out the depth of her anguish and resentment. Not nice public prayers. Not pretending that things were great between her and Peninnah (who was causing the deep hurt, tears and resentment). She took the moment to get real before the Lord. Deeply real. She wasn’t playing. She wasn’t trying to impress anyone – God or Eli or anyone else watching. She knew she had a moment of prayer and went straight to the depths of her broken heart.
It says the next morning she bowed in worship before going back home. Worship that follows truthful prayer. Worship from those same depths of her broken heart. Worship mingled with tears. Worship knowing what she was walking back into when she returned home.
I’m challenged by Hannah. I want to hide how deep some of the hurts & resentments are in my heart. I don’t even want to get that deep in prayer. Or I hold all the pieces together and pretend everything is alright. Sometimes the pain & resentment shut my heart to worship. Worship and weep? In public?
I love Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel chapter 2:
My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn is lifted up by the Lord.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is no one holy like the Lord.
There is none besides You!
A heart change. Broken heart is now rejoicing. Still has enemies in her life – but now she’s boasting and rejoicing…in the Lord’s salvation. Of course, this song ends with worship that is mixed with cheering and exclamation marks. There is none holy like the Lord. There is none besides You!
Pour your heart out. To the depths. Stop pretending in prayer. Got to the bottom of how hurt & resentful you feel. In that deep place worship, even if it’s mixed with weeping. And continue to get up and pray & worship until your heart turns and begins to rejoice.
I’ll join Hannah is saying, “There is none besides You!”