1st Samuel 1:7 (the message)
This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
This morning I’m thinking about how sometimes hope dies down to a flicker. Maybe at one point our hope burned hot and bright…our expectations were bold and our faith strong…but as time marches on our hope is reduced.
Hannah was unable to have children. I imagine as a new bride she assumed sons and daughters would come easily. Surely in those first months she eagerly awaited and expected a pregnancy. But as months turned into years, as her rival wife (remember we are Old Testament here!) produced children, she must have felt the sharp sting of what was not. The Bible says that year after year she was taunted with the facts…taunted by impossibility…taunted by loss. She was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
I think this is the part that catches my heart today. When our flaming hope dwindles to a flicker we lose our appetite. For God. For life. We feel reduced and forgotten.
What do we do when our hope is only a flicker?
What can we do when our faith is reduced? When we lack the umph needed for another round of prayer? When pouring our heart out seems pointless because there is nothing more to be said?
My heart, my own life, has only this to offer up:
Come near and let Him breathe.
Breathe onto your flicker.
I picture barely glowing embers and a hand that carefully cups them. Then gently blows…breathes life…until it catches fire. Until the flicker flames.
Hannah ran to the sanctuary. Reduced. No appetite.
I just don’t see how we continue on in an authentic experience with Jesus if we have to always have it figured out. I don’t see how or why we keep coming if we already have the answers.
I can only see, undeniably, that we all feel stuck sometimes. We grow weary. Our white-hot faith cools. Hope withers.
I get it. Maybe you do, as well. Maybe you’ve grown tired of waiting. Perhaps God has been silent too long. Maybe as your hope has faded so has your appetite for His presence and His Word.
Maybe your believing and hoping has been reduced to one lonely flicker.
Come empty. Come tired. Come angry.
We stop long enough to be still and consider Him.
Jesus gently cups our hearts.
We whisper the one word almost dead on our lips…Help.
Jesus leans in.
We sigh, glancing over at the Book we used to cling to.
Jesus whispers to the angels.
We turn those heavy, onion-skin pages for just one verse.
Jesus breathes on us.
He is the answer when there are no answers. He remains steady even as we drift away. He is the light that beckons us home when we are lost at sea. Jesus is patient and kind and caring.
In time…in the midst of real life and messy issues and imperfect Christianity…we find He is still our safest place.
Reduced, refined, reborn.
Jesus blows gently against our flicker. Becomes our hope.