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What do I do with unfulfilled dreams?

The story of Hannah takes place during the time of the Judges. Everyone was doing what was right in his own eyes. It was a time of chaos spiritually, socially, and politically. It was much like the day in which we live. Hannah’s son Samuel was the last judge and became a great prophet who would anoint and minister to King Saul and King David. Talk about raising up the next generation! The best illustration/comparison I could think of was that it would be like her son was the Billy Graham of his day. Billy Graham ministered to 12 presidents!

Hannah did not always have it easy though. Like most girls, she dreamed of getting married and having a family. She married a man named Elkanah but things had not turned out as she had dreamed. I have a word today for both men and women who are living with unfulfilled dreams.

Her Pain

In 1 Samuel 1 we read that not only was Hannah childless, but she was taunted by her rival. Year after year, Hannah would go to the temple. She would be taunted and would weep and not eat (v. 7). God had said be fruitful and multiply, but Hannah woke up day after day, month after month, year after year with the same painful problem. What do you do when you are in pain, confused, lonely, anxious, criticized, or falsely accused? (Eli thought she was drunk!) You worship! She brought herself to the place of worship, but her worship looked more like grief than joy, pain than praise. And sometimes that’s okay. Job most famously said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). See other examples from Scripture in Ps. 69:29-30, Ps. 71:20-22, Hab. 3:17-18. In your pain don’t forget to praise. When the fire has gone out, when your hope is in ashes, praise is the oxygen God will use to set it ablaze! You can talk to God about things you can’t talk to anyone else about. You need wisdom on how to handle hard situations. You need God to fight your battles.

Her Portion

In 1 Samuel 1:5 we read that Elkanah gave Hannah a double portion even though she didn’t have children. Six times in the Bible a specific reference is made to a “double portion.” When someone receives a double portion, he gets a gift twice as much as that given to others. In Isaiah 61:7 we read, “Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” God restored to Job twice as much as he originally had before his suffering: “And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). Job received a double portion. The idea behind the term is that of a great amount. “Double portion” refers to God’s abundant blessing. God has all sufficient grace for you. He gives more grace. He has manifold grace. Hannah would go on to not only be the mother of Samuel but 5 more children! If Peninnah had not taunted and irritated her, Hannah would not have been provoked to prayer. Let irritations and problem people be your motivator.

Her Prayer

First Samuel 1:10 describes Hannah’s pattern, “Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.” What do you long for but have not yet received?  When you are suffering from what you don’t have, hold on to what you do have. You have a God in heaven! Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Verse 12 says Hannah continued praying. The time you spend waiting is not wasted. God was changing her desire for something more! More than a child for herself, now she wants a child she can give to God (v. 11). Do you want what you want for you or for God? So often, people let hurt and pain drive them away from God. But in her distress, Hannah took her pain to the Lord. Verse 18 says, “Then Hannah went on her way; she ate and no longer looked despondent.” What changed?  Nothing about her circumstances. She still had a people problem with Peninnah. She’s not pregnant. What changed is that she knew her prayer had been heard and she could trust God for the outcome. She knew God was at work even when she could not see it or feel it.

God is not through with you! There is more to come! God can turn your bareness into blessing! Your birthing days are before you. For some, God is going to birth a business, book, degree, or miracle. Go into labor and P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens.


Works Consulted:
Walking with the Woman of the Bible – Elizabeth George
The Women of the Bible Speak – Shannon Bream
Women of Character – Lawrence Kimbrough – double portion
Paul Tripp Mega Metro
Zac Ethridge – 21 Days of Prayer

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