1 Samuel 1:18
“…And her face was no longer downcast.”
Long story short, we’re talking about Hannah. Hannah prayed for a baby. Prayed and prayed and prayed. It consumed her. She spent her time crying and wouldn’t eat. If you haven’t already read 1 Samuel 1, go do it.
Hannah is so well known for her beautiful prayer in the book of 1 Samuel. But here, in verse 18, is where I found myself longing to be more like her. The message version says her face was radiant. Radiant meaning – shining, or glowing brightly.
I want this. I want my face to be radiant. No longer downcast. No longer sad.
On the outside, Hannah probably seemed so happy at this point. Bubbly. Probably, from the outside looking in, you’d think God was constantly talking to her, blessing her.
Wrong. Several verses before, it says “in bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed.” (v.10)
I can resonate with this better than the first sentence of this post. I can see and feel what bitterness of soul looks like. Isn’t that a fantastic description of what that place feels like?
God, you said you loved me. God, where are you?
God, do you even hear me? God, how much more?
And from bitterness of soul to a face that is radiant – you’d expect a miracle. You’d expect that God either answered or prayer, or was pretty clear about His plan for her life.
Wrong again. Her face was radiant before God’s answer.
Gosh. Do I have that kind of faith? To have my heart and soul refreshed and full of joy before my miracle has even become a glimmer of hope?
So often, Hannah is known as a lovely woman of God because of her beautiful and gracious prayer. Which, is fitting. Her prayer is incredible and inspiring. But we miss the point when we don’t look before God answers her years of prayer and pleading. Se decided before a baby was even a possibility that she would dedicate him to the Lord for life. And she allowed the Lord to fill her with peace and joy before He gave her what she asked of Him.
Oh, God, that I would be a woman that is known for my joyful and thankful spirit before you ever even answer me. I pray that I would not be known for what happens after my miracle, but before.
That my face would be radiant not because things are going my way, but because I know you release me of my shame, and I can trust in your character. That I know to whom I belong, and that is enough. Not because of your answer, but because of your love for me, and your constant, never ending faithfulness.
“Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.”