Summary: Why discouragement can hit all of us and how to overcome it
Title: Overcoming discouragement
Text: 1 Samuel 1:1-20
Question? Do Christians struggle with discouragement?
Answer: Personal experiences tell us all Christians might suffer from discouragement from time to time.
Even great Bible characters struggled with discouragement
One person who struggled with discouragement is a woman named Hannah.And we read about her in 1 Samuel chapter 1.
I found out this week that her name means grace. (Even after we are saved by grace we are not immune from struggling with discouragement.)
In 1 Samuel chapter 1 verse 2 we find out the cause of Hannah’s discouragement:
“He had two wives; one who was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.” (v2)
Hannah was discouraged because she had no children. And right here in verse 2 we have one of the biggest recipes for discouragement:
Discouragement happens when something is easy for others- but impossible for you!
All Christians may get discouraged because not everything is easy for us. For some of us nothing is ever easy!
Ever being around someone who makes everything look easy? It can leave you feeling very discouraged.
In verse 5 we are told why Hannah could have no children?
“…The Lord had closed her womb”
We can only speculate why the Lord closed Hannah’s womb because we are never actually told the reason why the Lord closed her womb.
Here again is another major recipe for discouragement.
Discouragement happens when you have no answer to why God allows certain things to happen in your life.
Illustrate it: You lose your job. You lose your health. You lose someone or something you love.
Naturally being her husband Elkanah tried his best to help Hannah out of her discouragement.
"4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb."
Whenever they would go up to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Elkanah would give Hannah double portions to sacrifice. He would try to help her out of her discouragement by loving her more.
Elkanah would also try to help her out of her discouragement by telling her how blessed she really was.
8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?"
Peninnah on the other hand was not quiet as supportive to Hannah.
"And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat."
On the one hand you have those who are trying to help make life better for you but on the other hand you have those who are trying to make life worse for you.
Principle: Elkanah is being Christ-like to Hannah in helping her out of her discouragement. He is loving her. He is giving her double portions. He is saying nice things to her. Penninah on the other hand is being devil-like to Hannah. Irritating her and provoking her to bitterness.
Notice when the discouragement was at it’s worse.
“Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” (v7)
Whenever Hannah went up to worship the Lord she was singled out for attack.
This went on year after year!
What got Hannah out of her discouragement? The answer is Hannah herself!
(v9) Once, when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple.
1.The first thing Hannah did to help overcome her discouragement was to stand up.
It’s wasn’t as easy as we think for Hannah to stand up because nobody else was standing with her!
We are told that even Eli the priest was sitting down when Hannah decided to stand up.
Hannah lesson: We are not to take discouragement sitting down. We can stand up to discouragement. Even if we must stand alone.
2. The second thing Hannah did to help overcome her discouragement was to pray.(v10)
"In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD."
Hannah had some legitimate reasons for not praying…
She could have said I’m too bitter to pray right now…
I’m too emotional to pray right now…
But instead she prayed…
And she prayed a prayer that overcame her discouragement.
What is in a prayer that overcomes discouragement?
1.A prayer that overcomes discouragement is a prayer that only God can hear.