Friday, March 3, 2017

The Unwanted Part Of Life

Not a favorite topic among people.
"I'd rather think happy thoughts," or "Let's not go there." These are the views that fill our society and life today. We live our lives with the sole purpose of escaping any and all pain that might come our way.
But pain is a part of this life.
The pain I'm talking about is not the hurt we feel when there is a physical injury or illness.
Not the pain of a broken leg or a cut, but rather the pain I am talking about is emotional pain
The kind that comes from deep down inside a person.
Pain that flows from your very being and seems to have no end to it..

Sometimes this kind of pain is worse because there isn't any medicine we can take.
The pain of losing a child or a husband or wife.
The pain of someone you love leaving you.
The pain of life simply knocking you to your knees and then taking all you own.
That kind of pain is hard to define and harder to escape.
Yet we see men and women all throughout the Bible weighed down by emotional pain.
One such person is found in I Samuel.
Her name?

Hannah was the wife of a man named Elkanah, but she wasn't his only wife.
He had another named Peninnah. What a spiteful woman this one was.
Hannah had been unable to have children and according to the culture of the day, this was considered to be a curse. To not be able to have children was like the worst of the worse for a woman. Having children proved that she was fulfilling the role that God gave her. (My how times have changed, now we discard children like garbage...but that is another matter for another time). To make things worse, Peninnah fournd some demented pleasure when she would taunt Hannah and constantly remind her (Hannah) that she was not able to have kids...
"Hey Hannah did you check out the new kids clothes at Wal Mart? Oh yeah, I forgot....YOU DON'T HAVE ANY CHILDREN BECAUSE YOU CAN'T HAVE CHILDREN!!!!" That Peninnah was a real piece of work, she was. You can imagine the pain that Hannah carried around day after day. Everywhere she went, there were constant reminders of what she did not have.

Here's where the truth comes in. 
When we are dealing with pain, it will either drive us to God....
Or take us away from God and keep us weighed down, unable to move on.
Pat Terry, one of my favorite song writers, wrote a song that had this line in it.
And it's funny how pain can touch you....
And it only makes you better
Or it robs you, heart and soul.
All in all, it defines the separation...

Between growing up....
And growing old.

To me, those lines speak tons of truth.
Pain should drive me towards God. There I can pour it out, talk about it and receive some comfort from it.
In Hannah's case, she got up and went to the Tabernacle to pray.
I Samuel 1:10 reads: And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD and wept sore."
In her prayer, Hannah asked God for a son (wow...Hannah was very specific in her praying. Maybe I should pray like that.). IF God would grant her this desire of her heart, when the child was old enough, Hannah would return to the Tabernacle and present him unto God to be a servant and priest. This was not a casual prayer that Hannah prayed. This was a prayer of pain and humiliation. This was a prayer born from pain and nursed in heart ache. It was more than she could bear and she knew that God was the only answer.
What if we lived our lives like that?
What if we turned to God instead of simply carrying around all the emotional baggage that we have accumulated over the years.
Hannah was labeled by those around her and it wasn't a kind or loving name she was given.....she was BARREN.
But Hannah refused to live in that place. She caught the trailing hem of the Almighty's garment and cried out to Him in her pain, then waited for God to answer. Sometimes worse than the pain is the wait. But that is all part of life here on good ol' earth.
Either God is who He claims to be and will do what He claims He will do, or it's all a sham.
I'm crazy enough to believe that God is who He claims He is.

So to help us in our emotional pain, we turn to God.
Matthew 5:4 reads: Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Concerning Hannah's story and the emotional pain she suffered through, Pastor Rod Hembree puts it this way:
Hannah's tears are some of the most sorrowful in all of history. She is a victim of man's culture. She competes with another woman for the love of her husband. She is childless; when her culture looked at her, they saw a woman with no reason or purpose for being. But, unlike many women of her day in the dark day of the judges, Hannah refuses to release her hope in God. She frequents the Tabernacle of God and desperately prays. Hannah's tears changed the course of the nation of Israel forever. Without them, we would not have Samuel, the mighty prophet of God. There is always purpose in our pain and a reason for our tears. It seems when God's people suffer the world becomes a better place, because we draw down His strength from heaven to earth.

If you are hurting today, turn that pain and those tears toward God and let Him bring healing and answers to the prayers you have cried out.
Let Him be God in your life.....

God on you......

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