A Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope: Self-Concerned No More
By Sharon W. Betters
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
Where are you on your pilgrimage? Are you taking time to “taste and see that the Lord is good?” Are you intentionally building systems into your life that will act as your default system if life comes crashing down? Or are you hanging on to hope, desperate for someone to come alongside you and help you continue to walk by faith? Last week we saw Hannah’s practice of corporate worship led her to freedom in her personal lamenting before her God. Lamenting that brings God into our sorrows deepens our worship. Hannah does not just pour out her soul, she begs God to remember her and give her a son. Then she promises that if He gives her that son, she will give him back to God:
She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” -1 Samuel 1:10-11 ESV
Hannah’s lament involved her whole body. I imagine her falling to her knees, arms outstretched toward heaven, her body heaving from sobs rushing from a deep well of grief and longing, the kind of crying we call ugly. Though he cannot hear her words, the priest Eli observes what he concludes is drunken behavior. Once Eli understood she was pouring out her soul to God, the priest blessed her with hopes that God would hear His daughter and give her the desires of her heart. The transformation that came about through this intimacy with God shows up on her face:
Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. -1 Samuel 1:18 ESV
Another translation says: Her face became self-concerned no more. Hannah is a picture of the peace described in Today’s Treasure, the peace that comes when we throw our burdens at the feet of our God and trust in His goodness. After years of turmoil, Hannah experiences inner peace that flows into her face.
The thread of God’s sovereignty shines throughout Hannah’s story and I suspect Hannah’s surrender to God’s sovereignty over her womb fueled her peaceful facial expression. The story of our Redeemer, Jesus, also shines throughout Hannah’s story and especially her prayer. As you join in corporate worship at your local church, note the Scriptures and mentions in the sermon that celebrate the sovereign love of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how your Heavenly Father’s sovereignty brings beauty from ashes and gives purpose and joy when life falls apart. Look for Jesus on every page of Scripture.
Treasured by Him,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC.org, a nonprofit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children, and fourteen grandchildren.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.