Overcoming Obstacles

Have you ever had a dream in your heart that you know is an impossibility? Sometimes I find myself imagining that I am walking along the street the way other people do. This in the natural, would be impossible, but I would like to try something that outrageous. It sounds real good to me. Such thoughts do make me smile. But what if your dream is such an impossibility that it does not make you smile? And what if the heartbreak of not being able to have your heart's desire makes you sick? To a person who suffers this kind of heart sickness, it is like a slow, lingering death and the pain never goes away. As an onlooker, it appears that there are people that get more than their fair share of sadness in their lives. This kind of suffering cannot be shared, as other people are unable to feel the pain, or fully understand the depth of the problem. Such words as "don't worry, things will work out", or "find another interest, something else that you can do" are not comforting at all.

The Story Of Hannah

1Samuel chapter 1 tells the story of Hannah, who was one of two wives of Elkanah. Hannah had no children of her own and was totally heartsick that she had been unable to conceive. Her husband loved her very much and was concerned that she was so unhappy. He said to her, "Why do you cry? And why are you grieving? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" She was probably very happy with Elkanah as her husband, but she knew that her life would be complete, only when she became a mother. The Bible tells us that God had closed her womb so that she could not conceive. For many, it might be differcult to understand why God would do such a thing. But I have found that life events fit together like a jigsaw and although we often are unable to see the bigger picture. if we are patient, all will be revealed in due time. In fact, God had a plan that would change the future of Israel and Hannah would have a very important role in bringing that plan to fruition. But Hannah was unaware of this and her pain was made even worse still in that Elkanah's other wife, Peninnah taunted her, reminding her that she was not blessed with children.

Each year, the family went to Shiloh to worship the Lord. It was on this trip that Hannah goes to the entrance of the Tabernacle to pray. In great anguish and tears, she promises God that if He gives her a son, she will give the boy back to Him for the entirety of the boy's life. Also, as a sign of her dedication, she would never allow the boy's hair to be cut. Eli the High Priest had been watching as Hannah prayed. Her pain was so deep, that she could not physically utter the words. So she prayed in her mind and heart. But Eli did not understand this. He was convinced that she was drunk. And so he growled at her, telling her to give up the wine and behave herself. Hannah replies that she has not been drinking, but that she was pouring out her deep sorrows to God. At this point, Eli realised that he had made a mistake and told her to go in peace. He also blessed Hannah with the words, "May the Lord of Israel grant youe request." These words settled her and she left the temple quite confident that God had heard her prayer.

Hannah's faith had risen above her circumstances and she had opened the access way to heaven's treasures. God did have a special child for her, but she needed to be ready to take on the biggest challenge of her life. In her paiin, she had made a solemn promise to God. So how might this work out in reality? Hannah was true to her promise to God. When she had weaned Samuel she took the little boy and presented him to Eli the priest. She then left him with Eli and went home to her husband. Just imagine how difficult it would have been for Hannah to leave without her little boy. And she had given him into the care of an old man, whom she did not know. It was a huge test of her ability to trust God to take care of the boy.

So, what if you have been waiting for years for something to happen? Your prayers have not been answered and your life has not moved in the direction that you think that it should. Do you feel that God is not hearing you, or that He is just not interested? Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." In the case of Hannah, she had an all-consuming desire to be a mother. This was her starting point. But frustration and disappointment had taken its toll and she was a very unhappy woman. In desperation, Hannah turned to the only persom she hadn't yet talked to. Yes, God did have a plan and a purpose for Hannah's life. So it was that she came to God, asking the question and believing that she had the answer, her life began to change. It is the same with us. Just remember, God loves you more than any other human can. And He is always very close. He understands your pain and is available to stand with you through every problem, tragedy and heartfelt need. If you put you hand in His, then He will take and carry your burdens and empower you to live a happy life.