Summary: Mother’s Day sermon --- focused on the attributes of faih and courage in Hannah.
A Cry of Desperation
Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day for that matter) often seems a bit awkward. As a minister of the Gospel, I am always challenged on how to handle this special day (and I really do believe it is a good day for the church to observe). I recognize that there are others besides mothers in the congregation—so how can I make this special day meaningful for us all? Well, this year, the Lord led me to an incredible example of someone who was ready to “give their child” to the Lord, not just in a “child dedication service.”
In our text this morning, God honored Hannah’s prayer for a son. In short, God responded to Hannah’s desperation. And here is the key—here lies the truth this mother brings for us to consider.
We all face times of desperation. We all, mother’s or not, know what it means to be confused, hurting, even afraid. I believe that this text is telling us today that in times of distress, we need to rely upon God. How is that possible? How can we learn to rely upon God? Consider the following ways to a meaningful walk with God.
I. We learn to rely on God when we recognize that life is not fair.
A. Hannah’s problems would never have happened in a “fair” world.
1. She was a good woman (nothing in the text suggests otherwise).
2. She had the love of a good man (we know this because of Elkanah’s actions toward his wife).
3. In spite of being a good woman, who had the love of a good man, her culture condemned her.
a. To be barren in the ancient world was to be considered under a curse.
b. God must surely have abandoned such a woman.
B. Were you taught some of the same cultural myths that I learned?
1. They come in a variety of forms.
a. You can be whatever you want to be—if you try hard enough.
b. Work hard, and you will be rewarded.
c. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you.
2. What a shock comes when reality hits, and we learn that those myths aren’t always true.
a. Someone born into poverty and drug abuse is not likely to become a multi-millionaire.
b. Hard work doesn’t always pay off—it sometimes leads to stress, headache and disappointment.
c. Being nice to people can get you burned.
C. I say this not to be cynical, but to point out LIFE CAN BE UNFAIR.
1. When we really understand this, then we may realize that we don’t have what we need to face such a world.
2. We may realize we need help to make it in a world such as this.
3. We may begin to see that WE NEED GOD!!!
II. We learn to rely on God by being honest about our pain.
A. Hannah freely admitted her hurts.
1. She had plenty of reason to hurt.
a. Penninah—second wife in a polygamous marriage—mean, spiteful, and apparently hated Hannah.
b. Elkannah was unable to help or change Hannah’s situation.
c. Eli, the one man who might be able to help her thought she was a drunk.
2. She didn’t hold back her grief.
a. We find her praying at the altar—and it was no “easy” prayer—it was vocal and emotional enough to get her accused of drunkenness.
b. She cried out to God in the midst of her anguish—and held nothing back.
B. Friends, life hurts.
1. For nearly three years, we have walked together through some dark paths (and will likely go through some more).
2. Our first impulse as Christians is to be strong, faithful, and brave.
3. Reality hits us square in the face and reminds us that to be strong, faithful, and brave is easier said than done.
4. Perhaps, what we need to be is honest, and admit—LIFE HURTS.
C. By being honest, we admit that we are not brave enough, faithful enough, strong enough to face life’s huts: in short, we admit WE NEED GOD!
1. If we refuse to acknowledge the hurt, we cannot be healed.
2. Toothache experience—pain finally got so bad, I could not ignore it any longer—by admitting the situation, I found relief.
3. When we open up before God, we open our hearts to experience his relief, his strengthening power, his love.
III. We learn to rely on God as we leave our problems in his hands.
A. Hannah received a promise from the Lord—she would get the answer she had sought.
1. When we first met Hannah, she was in anguish, embittered, without hope.
2. Now, she ran home to her husband happy, with confidence and hope.
3. What made the difference? She received the promise of God—she now knew that he was with her: he had promised to intervene.