Are you living with a pain or disappointment? Has an unpleasant situation in your life brought you shame, scorn, sorrow and even condemnation? Am sure you know what I mean; situations and issues that you’d rather not talk about because they often make you cry at night wondering why God has deserted and forsaken you.
You complain out of frustration and sometimes wonder why people who seem to live worse lives than you don’t experience these difficulties. Why is God allowing you to become known or associated with this shameful situation? You ask.
You have become like people whose identity is tied to the problem they are battling : ‘sickly Tom’, ‘barren Hannah’, ‘poor Kim’, ‘broke Ben etc. If you’ve found yourself in this type of situation, cheer up, don’t be dismayed. Its a set up to turn your life around. God wants to turn around the pain and shame that you are experiencing into glory and a happy ending for you.
In the first chapter of the first book of Samuel, we are introduced to a woman named Hannah, she was the first wife of a man named Elkanah. And she was barren. Her husband’s second wife taunted her regularly, reminding her of her barrenness. Hannah’s burden was born from this situation of despair and shame.
She alone knew the pain she was experiencing and nobody could really understand what she was going through. The Bible records that even her husband could not understand why she sorrowed. “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8) he asked.
It wasn’t his burden and that is why when she went to groan before the Lord, she groaned alone. Below are some lessons we can learn from Hannah’s experience and how we too, can turn our burdens into blessings.
1. Your Burden is Personal
Do not be annoyed when loved ones and respected Christians do not understand your burden, neither despair when they do not empathize or pray with you. They may not understand your pains like you do until they are in the same situation.
Take it to the Lord and continue praying until you get an answer. Even Eli the priest thought Hannah was drunk while she prayed in the temple (vs 14), but that did not stop her, she prayed until she received and answer.
2. Burden Turned into Purpose
Her burden served a purpose greater than her personal need. The Bible records that Hannah told God “if you give me a son, I will give him back to you” (vs 11). She wasn’t just concerned about having the title of ‘barrenness’ removed as the prefix to her name! She wanted something more and greater than her need – God’s kingdom expansion.
So the question is, what is your burden? How will your burden, if lifted serve or advance kingdom purposes? Are you more concerned about how to pay back those who have mocked you before? Is your desire for answered prayers a need to show off? How does it serve God’s purpose?
3. Changing Destinies
You can chart the course of someone’s destiny. Hannah was a woman who determined the destiny of her son Samuel. She dedicated him to the service of God without first seeking her husband’s consent. Indeed there was a need for a priest at that time since Eli had failed to correct the evil his sons were doing in the house of God (I Samuel 2:22).
Samuel became the next priest and judge ( the last judge too) of Israel and all because his mother gave him to God. Whose future will your burden change? Perhaps your children, your country or even people unknown to you.
4. God Will Exceed Your Expectations
When you think of His kingdom first,He will give you back your heart’s desire, full measure pressed down and running over.
Many people may wonder why a barren woman would decide to give up her son while he was still so young for God’s work. The Bible records that after the boy had been weaned, she took him to the temple and handed him over to Eli (1 Samuel 1: 24). She would visit him only once a year. She had the right to keep him, after all, he was an answer to her prayers; her many tearful nights of groaning. He was evidence to her mate that she too can have a child, but she gave him up.
The Bible records a wonderful end to Hannah’s story, she had five more children aside Samuel (1 Sam 2:21). This is what happens when you give back to God what He gave you in answer to your need; He will surely give you more than you could ever have asked Him or imagined.
God Wants to Turn Around Your Shame
Who then is willing to pray like Hannah did, turning their personal needs and burdens into tools through which God can accomplish His purposes here on earth? Do you know that the pain, shame or need you are experiencing now maybe a gateway for the fulfillment of God’s purpose in the lives of many people?
Have you imagined what could happen if Hannah had not done what she did? Likewise, I urge you not to take lightly what God may use you to accomplish when He answers your prayers. I pray that the Lord will do in your situation much more than you can ever dream or imagine.
I know that I am a sinner and that I need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life.
I know You are the only way to God. So now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You.
Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.