Do you remember Hannah who yearned to have a child? How she felt crushed in soul but prayed to God anyway. How she prayed for a son and promised to give him back to God. (1 Sam. 1) Her prayer was an authentic plea right from her heart.
Before the year was out, Hannah had conceived and given birth to Samuel. Hannah did what she had promised to God. After she had weaned (much later than today) the much wanted child she dedicated Samuel to the Lord. She literally gave him away to be raised in the company of Eli the priest. What amazes me here is that after giving her precious son away she praised and worshiped the Lord! She was not an emotional wreck. She was living in hope.
Hannah prayed: I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air.
I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation.
Nothing and no one is holy like God,
no rock mountain like our God.
Don’t dare talk pretentiously—
not a word of boasting, ever!
For God knows what’s going on.
He takes the measure of everything that happens.
The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces,
while the weak are infused with fresh strength.
The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts,
while the hungry are getting second helpings.
The barren woman has a houseful of children,
while the mother of many is bereft.
God brings death and God brings life,
brings down to the grave and raises up.
God brings poverty and God brings wealth;
he lowers, he also lifts up.
He puts poor people on their feet again;
he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope,
Restoring dignity and respect to their lives—
a place in the sun!
For the very structures of earth are God’s;
he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation.
He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step,
but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark.
No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle!
God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky,
crashed in a heap and burned.
God will set things right all over the earth,
he’ll give strength to his king,
he’ll set his anointed on top of the world!
(1 Sam. 2: 1-10, MSG)
The day God gave the child to Hannah was a happy day. But the day she gave him back to the Lord was even happier. How can that be? Hannah is ecstatic. She is exuberant. And Hannah is not praising God for his precious son. She is not dancing because she had been blessed by the experience of motherhood. She is not celebrating the loveliness of Samuel. No. She is praising God for being God!
Hannah had experienced God in such an intimate way that she was living in hope. Knowing that she was in the center of God’s will made her rejoice. Knowing that Samuel was part of the salvation plan made her dance. Hannah was even prophetically praying more than she knew; Hannah was anticipating Jesus as God’s anointed (in the last verse). Note also that Mary took this same song and personalized it to celebrate the anointed child in her womb (Luke 1: 46-55).
Hope in Christ is much more than happiness.
Hope in Christ is finding real joy in Christ.
Hope in Christ is embracing God’s grace.
Living in hope is much more than being optimistic.
Living in hope is finding peace in Christ.
Living in hope is embracing God’s future.
How can we live in hope when we are burn-out, tired and crushed in soul? In fact, that is the best place to start living in hope. Cry to God like Hannah, straight from your heart. Wait for the Lord.
God is more than happy to rekindle your empty life with fresh hope.
God is more than ready to jump start your dead-end life with the joy of salvation.
God is more than willing to pour grace upon grace on you.
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (Romans 15:8, MSG)
We bring our burn-out lives to you.
Give us fresh hope!
Pour out your grace!
Renew, restore, rekindle!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How do you live in hope in the midst of darkness?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let God’s grace rekindle fresh hope in you!
Image “Samuel brought to Eli” courtesy of Christian ClipArt.