“He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail.” 1 Samuel 2:9
I love Hannah’s prayer in Samuel chapter 2. Here is a woman who went through a very hard time in her life and in the end came out victorious, singing God’s praises. Let’s look a little closer at what exactly she went through.
In the beginning of Samuel we see that Hannah was one of two wives to Elkanah, the son of a whole lot of people. Hannah was barren, had no children, but her “rival” had children and constantly reminded Hannah of this fact. The bible says that this other wife went so far as to “make her miserable”.
How many times have you been in this situation? Everything seems to be falling apart and barrenness is the only thing abundant in your life. On top of this, the enemy constantly reminds you how barren and hopeless your situation is.
Hannah became so upset that she wept and did not eat. Her husband tried to comfort her but nothing eased the pain of her suffering. Why was God withholding children? Why was she barren? Would she ever see fruit in her life?
She was “in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” I know that many people can relate to this desperation of the heart and soul. God, You’ve got to breakthrough for me or I will always be barren! In her crying out she made a vow that if God would hear her cry she would give her child to the Lord all his life. Desperation brings desperate measures.
Nine months later, Hannah had a baby boy. Is God not miraculous and wonderful?! He always hears the cries of those who are broken and contrite in spirit. Hannah keeps her vow and once the child is weaned she brings him before the Lord to serve in the house of God. That’s when she praises the Lord as recorded in Samuel 2.
So my question is: would Hannah have given Samuel to the Lord if she had not gone through the period of barrenness? Would she still say, “…by strength no man shall prevail”? Would she have known the great compassion and power of God?
I believe without the period of brokenness and desperation Samuel would have never been the prophet he was. If Hannah had given birth to him before her trial then he would not have been brought before the Lord to be used in such a mighty way. If Hannah had not come to know, with all her heart, that it is God who has the power and the strength to prevail, then she would not have let Samuel go.
Man has the tendency to believe that he has caused blessing, but “by strength no man shall prevail.” If you want to do great things for God then you must embrace the trials and afflictions. You must be broken. If you aren’t broken then you will still grasp at the work of God and you will still want to claim it as your own.
Hannah knew that without God she was barren and with God she was blessed. Without God you are barren and with God you are blessed. If you don’t embrace this then you won’t give God all the glory; then you won’t give God all the fruit; then you won’t give God your Samuel, your breakthrough.
God always answers the cry of the desperate. Your Samuel will come. Your breakthrough will come. God is faithful. Embrace your cross. Embrace brokenness. Surrender your strength. It’s in this lowly place that God can do the miraculous. It’s in this place that God can do amazing things!