Monday, October 24, 2016

The Prayer of Hannah

She sat on the steps of her church, weeping uncontrollably, unable to even summon the courage to go any further. Silent prayers flowed over her lips up to the unfailing ears of God. Years of painful desire streamed down her cheeks in the form of tears. Where was He? Why hadn't He responded to her pleas? Was He even caring right now?

Haven't we all been Hannah at some point or another? Pleading for the life of a loved one, crying out for the soul of someone we care about, begging for the birth of a child, longing for different circumstances, asking for healing, or whatever your burden in your season happens to be. I've had many times of weeping, of longing and suffering filling my heart to the point of being laid out before the Lord. Sitting in the stillness now, many of them come flooding back to me now. Gapping holes I thought that would never be filled that did. Wounds I thought could never be healed that mended. Sins I thought I'd never be forgiven that were erased. Only one thing continues to remain, despite the number of times I've begged for the desire to be wiped away if the hope was to remain unmet. 

I've lost count of how many times I've written about singleness, but each time I do, inevitably I get a response from someone thanking me and asking me to continue to do so. It's the hardest topic for me to crack open my heart and expose, because it is the deepest. I can't say that my longing for a spouse is any more difficult than another's, but I will say that the life God has led me to has exaggerated the loneliness. Contrary to what it may seem as I travel the globe, I long for stability. I long for someone to know all of me- the me here, the me there, the me of my past, the me of my hopes, the me of ugliness, the me of beauty, the me of pain, the me of joy... I'd say nearly everyone in my life only knows but a small part of what makes me me. Even though I may appear to be so strong and can spend a lifetime fighting for justice and help for others, I so much long for someone to fight for me (and with me). Just because I don't sit still waiting for love to enter my life, doesn't mean I don't long everyday for those words to come true. 

God answered Hannah's prayers and brought a son (and more children) to her life, but the verses that continue to challenge my heart are 1 Samuel 1:5-6 where it talks about God being the One who closed Hannah's womb in the first place. I know God is the One who has allowed me to be single all these years. As my friend reminded me, "He's answered crazy prayers for me, so I know He cares and listens. Just in this area He says no for now." I don't understand His ways. I can't pretend to know the mind of the Lord. But, just as Hannah, I will continue to enter His presence and ask. And maybe one day this will be part of the category of holes filled, wounds healed, and sins erased. Maybe one day all this will make sense, but until then, you can find me on the steps of the church, "speaking in [my] heart... pouring out my soul... and speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation."

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