I felt the pain hit me like a tsunami as the doctor said the words, you need surgery again. After I broke my elbow last winter and had emergency surgery, I thought healing would come relatively quickly and easily.
After months of physical therapy, my movement is still restricted due to the size of the plate that helped fuse my bones together. Now that plate has to go so my arm can be free.
Whether it’s a breakup, job loss, or some other life altering event, disappointment affects us all. But where do we find healing?
If we look to the Bible, we find a woman named Hannah, who endured some heartbreaking disappointment with humility and faith. She found healing and victory, and so can we.
In 1 Samuel 1, we meet Hannah in the midst of her anguish. She’s married to a man named Elkanah, but she can’t have any children. Although infertility is heart wrenching enough for women today, it felt like complete failure in ancient times.
Elkanah’s second wife, Peninnah, kept provoking Hannah, causing her to weep in distress as they went up to the house of the Lord to make their yearly sacrifice.
Hannah had a choice in how to respond. She could have chosen bitterness toward Peninnah or to wallow alone in her misery. Instead, Hannah took her burden to the Lord.
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. (1 Samuel 1:10 NIV)
When we are heartbroken and in anguish, sometimes our first response is to hide from God. However, this is the opposite of what God wants for us. He wants us to be open and vulnerable. He wants raw tears and haunting fears.
Our Heavenly Father wants His children right where they are. God can only transform our lives when we let Him into our hearts.
Turning our Disappointment into Surrender
Sometimes what we think we want isn’t always the best thing for us. Or, as in Hannah’s case, we must wait for our prayers to be answered.
When we feel disappointed, we must grieve for the loss of what we had or wanted. After pouring out our grief to the Lord, we must surrender our dreams, hurts, and expectations to God’s sovereign care.
And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” (1 Samuel 1:11 NIV)
When Hannah made this vow to the Lord, she knew that any future child of hers would be dedicated to God. She had to let go of her past expectations and trust in the Lord fully.
When we’ve been hurt or disappointed, trusting the Lord is a challenge. But Jesus is always in full control of our lives. Nothing takes Him by surprise–not a job loss or diagnosis–nothing.
When Hannah dedicated her dream of having a son to the Lord, she showed true faith. Faith goes beyond this realm and is found only in complete dependence upon our Savior.
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A New Expectation
Hannah didn’t stop at vulnerability and surrender. As she pressed on in faith, her expectations changed.
She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. (1 Samuel 1:18-19 NIV)
Instead of the deep anguish of her disappointment, Hannah’s face held hope. She got up and worshipped with her family. And then her miracle finally happened; the Lord gave her a son named Samuel!
Now, we might not always get what we want when going through a disappointing situation. But when we press on in faith and worship, God remembers us.
Jesus is known for showing up in unexpected ways, and He does what seems impossible by human standards.
In 1 Samuel 2, God honors Hannah’s faithfulness in giving up Samuel to the priest so that he could serve God all of his life. In return, Hannah received many more sons and daughters, as well as the honor of Samuel becoming a great judge for Israel’s kings.
When we trust God and keep our hope in the promise of His Word, we find that He is always faithful.
Having a second surgery on my arm was not something I wanted, but I believe that God is working out a higher purpose out of what now feels like a disappointment. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that with Jesus, no struggle we go through is ever wasted. It’s a journey of vulnerability, surrender, and faith for the future.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
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