Session 34

When hope seems unattainable

From 1 Samuel: A 6-Week Devotional

Hannah was loved by her husband, but her longing was for a child. Hannah kept seeing her prayer being fulfilled for others around her. When would it be her turn?

Your desire may not be for a child like Hannah, but we all find ourselves longing for something — a better job, a happy marriage, a second chance in life. Longings are universal. Often, the Lord plants these yearnings in our hearts such as the desire to be a mom. It is important we also grasp that the Lord may also be the only one who can fulfill the desires within us.

We want our desires to be fulfilled, and we want them fulfilled in what we view as an appropriate time frame. When that doesn’t happen, we feel frustrated, isolated, ignored, and misunderstood. Hannah felt each of these. Hannah’s own husband, Elkanah, didn’t even understand her weeping. He loved her. Wasn’t that enough?

Prayer doesn’t always bring an immediate resolution, but it always brings immediate relief.

Others may not understand your hope and your hurt, but what is worse is when people see your weeping as weakness and use it against you. 1 Samuel 1:6-7 says Hannah’s rival “kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.”

When longings go unmet, what can we do? The answer lies in Philippians 4:6, “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Prayer doesn’t always bring an immediate resolution, but it always brings immediate relief.

After Hannah wept and poured her problems out before God, her situation hadn't changed but her heart had (1 Samuel 1:8). Hannah had hope for the first time in a long time, because her hope was in the Lord.

The same is true for us when we take our fears, our troubles, and our longings to the Lord. Our prayers might not change our situations immediately, but they always change us.

Reflect:

  • What are you longing for? Have you presented your longing to the Lord?

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