FEBRUARY 21: IF THOU WILT LOOK

IF THOU WILT LOOK
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Thine handmaid, but wilt give unto Thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life and no razor shall come upon his head ...
1 Samuel 1:9-11
Today's Read: 1 Samuel 1-2; Psalm 18
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There are times and seasons in our lives where external realities become almost unbearable; where griefs and oppressions lay siege on the soul and threaten to deplete it of life and energy.
Exhausted. Numb. Paralyzed.
The soul appears almost dead, an ever slowing pulse beating in a rhythm suggestive of death's take-over.
Life on the verge of termination.
Hannah understood this.
-She carried an empty womb and an expanding desperate soul.
-She bore the mockery and enmity of a rival under the same roof by the name of Peninnah, the second wife of Elkanah.
-She bore a mental and emotional strain etched deeply into the soul and made transparent in the aching, depth-filled haunting eyes.
Hannah knew pain.
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The annual treks to Shiloh (the worship center at the time for the Jews) were wearisome, tedious formalities that produced nothing more than intensive soul wanderings in Hannah.
The trip of joyful worshippers surrounding her only intensified her feelings of aloneness, isolation, and depression.
Year after year, prayer after prayer, God remained silent with Hannah:
No baby was granted.
The youthful womb was aging.
The chapters of life ... slowly fading year by year.
Hope disintegrating into empty page-turning reflections deprived of a baby's face.
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And then one year ...
The culmination of yearly trips reached a peak.
Hannah was at wit's end;
Torn, worn, tired, and weary.
Hannah launched out on her own after formal, celebratory feasting and made a solitary walk to the temple.
She hadn't eaten,
She hadn't enjoyed the feast,
She hadn't tasted of the goodness of God with others.
In an audible inarticulate display of words resembling an inebriated drunk, Hannah's soul unravels and comes undone before God. So intense is her verbal outbreak that she is reprimanded by the priest Eli for her outburst.
Have "you" ever been in this state?
Has "your" soul ever experienced such an acid-grieving pain that you thought it had the power to eat your soul away?
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It was this hellish tormenting throb of pain that brought Hannah into the temple and onto her knees.
And in this tormented state God meets Hannah.
  He does something very special in Hannah:
He opens her womb.
Why God chose to answer when He did and how He did ... only He knows.
But this story attests to a power which prevails in seasons of distress through the act called prayer and it fills us with hope.
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Someone is reading this who is passing through a hellishly tormenting season;
Your soul is on the verge of despair and collapse and you are internally barren.
Feastings and fellowship feel like formalities of pretense and projection.
You're all busted up inside and no one sees.
Take your cues from Hannah.
 It's okay.
It's okay to walk away from it all and make a solitary walk to the temple.
It's okay to sound like an inebriated drunk pouring out your soul before God.
It's okay to pray to God in an acidic "questionable" state that might be misinterpreted by another.
It's okay to be the way you truly are before God.
Hannah experienced soul pain.
Hannah experiened soul gain ...
In the end.
Little Baby Samuel.
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Three Study Suggestions:
1) Open up God's word, whether you feel Him or not, and get His strength into you.
2) Don't give up.
Get on your knees ... but don't give up.
3) The barren and the broken have a very special place with God.
Pour out your heart.
His heart is listening.