Tears: Watering the Seeds of Gospel Promises
After praying a brief invocation and reading of Psalm 150 (Hallelujah Psalm Collect), I read First Samuel prayerfully (Lectio Divina). Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, plays such a vital role in the narrative, but what captured my attention was her response to distress, anxiety, and vexation.
Hannah's barrenness led her into great sorrow, while Peninnah, the other wife of her husband Elkanah, provoked her grievously and irritated her. The grief of being unable to bear a child was deep but the provoking only excited the depression and heartbreak. So where does Hannah turn?
She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.
1 Samuel 1:10
I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.
1 Samuel 1:15-16
Hannah's response in deep sorrow is to cry out to the Lord. O my soul! Look here at this sorrowful woman and learn from her. In anxiety, grief, sorrow and vexation...yes, even when rivals provoke you...turn your heart to the Lord in prayer, weep before his merciful throne. Pour out your soul before the Lord! Though others might consider you a fool, the Lord knows your grief, brokenness, and circumstances. Not only does he know, he cares.
I thank the Lord that he sees our distress, hears our cries, and welcomes us as we are. The beauty of the passage is that the Lord is at work in sorrow. Suffering is not meaningless. Hannah's tears were watering the seeds of gospel promises. Through her sorrow God was bringing about a great salvation. Hannah was received more than a son when Samuel arrived. She bore in her womb the prophet who would anoint the great king who would father the greater King, the Lord Jesus Christ.