her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb.
…so it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD; she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.
1 Samuel 1:6-7
Sometimes the beginning of a new year can be a painful reminder of what isn’t. Another year passes, and we find the circumstances we hoped would remain in the past have followed us into the present. Or a desire we believed would be granted has remained out of reach. The change we planned on has not changed!
This was the case for Hannah. Year after year her arms remained vacant, her womb empty and her heart bereaved of a greatly desired child. Each year hoping in vain next year would be different, but it wasn’t. This year was the same as the last. Once again, she found herself on the wrong side of an impenetrable gloom. An unchanging circumstance beyond her control! In verse 6, we are told her “rival” provoked her severely, exasperating her misery and grief. The grief of a closed womb.
Recently I was talking with someone who found themselves in the throes of Christmas blues having gone through another season with the sharp pain of broken relationships. She expressed her longing to “give birth” to change but lacked the strength and ability to do so. I call this the grief of a closed womb.
As we say goodbye to 2017 and begin 2018, I wonder if you are experiencing the grief of a closed womb?
Is there something you have prayed for, longed for, ached for but find yourself grieved by a lack of change? Time seems to be ticking away, and yet you feel no progress has been made? Hope deferred has made your heart sick?
If this is you- I have good news! Hannah’s story didn’t end here and neither will yours. The Lord has an end result in mind, and it is good!
Fast forward Hannah’s story to the same place on the same occasion but a different year. A future year. Only this time instead of being overwhelmed with the grief of a closed womb we find her carrying a greatly desired child in her arms. Instead of a heart filled with grief leaking out her eyes, we find her heart full of joy and rejoicing on her lips.
But like Hannah, we don’t have to wait until we see the end result to experience the peace and the confidence of a good ending. We just need to pour out our hearts before Him and allow Him to pour into ours.
she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish.
1 Samuel 1:10
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him. And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad”
1 Samuel 1:17-18
When was the last time you prayed about the grief of “your closed womb?”
When was the last time you prayed about the longing you carry for an unrealized dream or desire?
When was the last time you wept in anguish before the Lord over an unchanging circumstance?
Hannah’s change came the day she decided to give her anguish to God! On that day the God of Israel (her God) took her anguish and gave her His peace! On that day the God of Israel (God who prevails) took her despair and gave her His confidence!
So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the LORD.”
1 Samuel 1:20
I pray your journal for 2018 will be full of entries that begin with:
So it came to pass…
And end with:
Because I asked for… from the LORD!
My prayer for you, my precious sister, is that you will not leave 2017 with anguish locked up in your soul but that you will choose to deposit it at His throne of great grace. Placed squarely into His trustworthy and capable hands!
Enter 2018 with peace and confidence knowing He hears and He answers!
For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.
1 Samuel 1:27