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Find Rest for Your Soul
I have a crazy story to tell you today.
In early June, I got a call that my mom had fallen and cut her head right above her eyebrow.
She had to have eight stitches and then they wanted to send her to the hospital – just in case she had a brain bleed.
Within just a few hours, they took her back for surgery; they cut a huge incision into her head to take care of the bleeding.
She was in the hospital for about a week and then they sent her to rehab.
After a couple of days in rehab, she had at least one stroke. So, they took her back to the hospital.
The Story Continues
After another week in the hospital, she went back to rehab.
If you’re keeping up, that’s one full month in the hospital or rehab.
While she was in these medical facilities, people took wonderful care of her.
Moreover, I’m so thankful for nurses and doctors and medical staff, and people who care for other people.
If you are one of those, thank you so much!
Thank you for your care, your kindness, and your service.
More Drama While Trying to Find Rest
During this same season, we also discovered that my father has developed Parkinson’s disease.
For a while, he wasn’t feeling well and had some tests run. As a result, we found out that he is dealing with this very challenging illness.
Also, during this season, my only daughter and my four-year-old Australian Shepherd puppy decided to move to another city for her to take a new job.
They had been with us for all of the lockdown and pandemic. It was such a big change to watch them move away.
All in all… it was quite a summer!
Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse
And… in the midst of all of this, I hopped on the computer on a Saturday morning to pay the bills and update the budget.
I’m one of those people who pay the bills online. My bank will send checks to those that I owe.
As a matter of fact, I set this up each month.
To my horror, on that particular Saturday morning, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake amid my summer craziness and exhaustion.
When I had last paid the bills, I messed up on one of them and made the payment off by two decimals.
The original bill was $666.16.
I wish I could tell you that my decimals were off so it was only $6.16.
However, I messed up in the other direction.
Even When We Blow It, We Can Find Rest
In the middle of the chaos, the hospital visits, the surgeries, and everyone moving around, I had written a check for $66,616!!
And it was “in process” to the company that we owed.
There was no getting it back!
So, on that Saturday morning, I got it on the phone with my bank.
I talked to them, and they assured me that they would put a “stop payment” on my check.
Then I paid the amount that I owed to that creditor on their app and tried to go on with my day.
However, I was distracted all day long.
So late in the afternoon. I called the bank again to make sure there was a stop check on that payment. There was.
Honestly, I don’t think I slept much all weekend.
And I didn’t tell anyone except the bank. (I thought I would fess up to my husband later.)
On Monday Morning
On Monday morning, I called the company that would be receiving my huge $66,000 check.
I talked with a lady named Terry, who could not have been more gracious.
She did not laugh at me or make fun of me or make me feel bad.
In fact, she was so helpful.
She made notes on my account and even told me she would call me back the next day to let me know that things worked out OK.
The check was supposed to go through that night, and she promised me that she would call me and tell me that things were OK.
She did call me on Tuesday morning, which is crazy because she was at an 866 number.
There’s no reason that Terry should have been so kind to me, but she was.
Then, I had to go on with life – trusting that the bank and this company would take care of things and deal with us fairly.
I Tell You This Story Because We All Blow It and Need to Find Rest at Times
Honestly, I tell you this story because, in my exhaustion, I blew it. I made a huge mistake due to all of the stress and fatigue.
But, in my honesty and cries for help, I found peace and resolution.
WE ALL have seasons when our exhaustion gets the best of us!
There are times when we all have enough, and we start making huge mistakes!
Indeed, we all grow weary, we all run out of steam, and we all have seasons when we just aren’t able to deal with life as well as we’d like.
- What can we do once we get to this point?
- What can we do with our exhaustion?
- Where can we find rest for our souls?
What Does the Bible Teach about How to Find Rest?
To encourage us, I can share what I have done, and what I believe the Bible teaches us to do.
In the Bible, 1 Samuel chapter 1, is one of my very favorite Bible stories!
Truly, life is hard!
And sometimes… it is VERY HARD to find rest for your souls.
There’s a lady in the Bible who gives us a wonderful model of rest.
We can learn from her life and her journey.
- One of my favorite female Bible characters.
- Love her honesty!
- Love her example!
Set the Scene of Hannah’s Story to Begin to Find Rest
Our first encounter with Hannah is in 1 Samuel 1:3, where we are told that she is on her way to church with her husband Elkanah.
“Each year Elkanah would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at the Tabernacle.
The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas.”
Additionally, we know that Hannah was a woman who lived in a very difficult time – before running water, electricity, air conditioning, automatic dishwashers, and the like.
She was a real woman, living a real life.
Indeed, her story is not made up or only provided as an example.
Instead, we get to peek behind the scenes of a regular Bible woman’s life. We get to observe and learn from her experiences.
Secondly, We Learn that Hannah’s Living Situation is Hard.
In 1 Samuel 1:1-2a, we read,
“There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph in the hill country of Ephraim.
He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim. Elkanah had two wives,…”
In the original Hebrew, that means he had two wives – at the same time!!
According to the Adam Clarke Commentary:
“The custom of those times permitted polygamy; but wherever there was more than one wife, WE FIND THAT THE PEACE OF THE FAMILY WAS GREATLY DISTURBED BY IT.”
Do we have to read from a commentary to know that two women + one man = trouble???
- Think about it – Hannah lived her life sharing her man with another woman and her kids.
- Tents were probably separated – across the way from each other – but most likely they were sharing a well, sharing food, and sharing their man.
Perhaps, Peninnah and Hannah had a schedule at the well or some way to set up who got to spend time with Elkanah each week.
We aren’t sure, but it had to be a delicate balance.
There was nothing easy about their situation.
- And, year after year after year, this went on!
- Daily situation – it couldn’t be changed or fixed
- Hannah was stuck in a very challenging life.
- And there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.
Hannah was a woman in a hard situation!
Can you relate?
Some of you are dealing with something very hard in your life right now…
- Blended family,
- Difficult boss,
- Hard church situation,
- Loss of a spouse,
- Wayward child, or
- Caring for elderly parents.
A Third Thing We Learn about Hannah is that She Had a Physical Hurt.
If you read I Samuel 1:2 and 5b, you see this hurt:
“Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not… because the Lord had given her no children.“
Hannah was barren; she was physically unable to have a child.
- For years she had been trying to have a baby. And there were no procedures or drugs or surgeries that she could undergo.
- Women will go to great lengths today to get pregnant or to adopt a child. It’s a huge desire that God has placed in women to want children.
- But that may or may not be your biggest issue today. For most of us, it is not!
Maybe you have an incredible physical hurt as you look to find rest for your soul.
You may be dealing with something that just beats you down each day…
- Chronic Illness
- Want to lose weight and you haven’t been able to (discourages you)
- Something else…
A Fourth Thing We Learn about Hannah – She Lived with Mean!
As you look in 1 Samuel 1:6-7, you read about this meanness:
“So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children.
Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle.
Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.”
Every year, these two women and their shared husband and Peninnah’s kids had to make a road trip to worship and sacrifice to the Lord.
They all went to church together because their town was too small to have its own temple.
It was not enough that she was barren but add to that a mean other woman, someone who lived to upset her.
And, she had to look forward to this torture annually.
During the Week, It was Okay!
Most likely, in their tent village, she could avoid Peninnah, but not while they were on these long road trips together.
Indeed, Peninnah provoked her year after year.
Why? It was because of jealousy!
When you read 1 Samuel 1:4-5, you discover why Peninah was jealous or Hannah – Elkanah loved her more!
“On the days Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to Peninnah and each of her children.
And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion because the Lord had given her no children.”
Sometimes That Other Woman Can Keep Us From Being Able to Find Rest
Most of you, when I asked you if there was someone mean in your life – you didn’t think of some guy.
You thought of another woman!!!
We girls are sometimes just mean.
For example, my mom is in her 80’s, and my daughter is in her 20’s. They both have to deal with this!
Every one of us has said or done something “mean” in our lives.
And every one of us has been on the receiving end of mean!
It just seems to be part of the girl world!
Another Challenge for Hannah was Her Clueless Husband
In 1 Samuel 1:8, we read about the cluelessness of Hannah’s man:
“Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask.
“Why aren’t you eating? And, why be downhearted just because you have no children?
You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”
Only a man could say this…
- Elkanah was sort of a happy-go-lucky guy. He just didn’t understand or seem to be able to comfort Hannah in her pain.
- This must have added to her pain that no one could sympathize or say that they understood her hurt and pain.
We Just Want Someone to Understand
One of my favorite authors is a Christian counselor named Gary Smalley.
He once said:
“People want to be understood, especially women.
We want to know that someone ‘gets’ what we’re going through and can relate to our pain.”
Is there someone who just doesn’t get your hurt right now?
Or, is there someone who just doesn’t understand?
It can be so challenging when we feel like no one REALLY understands!
A Final Thing to Notice about Hannah’s Life that Impacted Her Ability to Find Rest
Finally, we notice that Hannah is experiencing great confusion and frustration. She is struggling.
In 1 Samuel 1:9, we read:
“Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle.”
She got up from the table…
She stood up…
Maybe she knew where she was going, maybe not.
She had to get out of there.
When You Can’t Find Rest – What Do You Do?
Maybe you are thinking – I don’t know what to do, but I’ve got to do something.
You’re ready for God to heal and touch and mend your broken heart.
What can you do?
What did Hannah do with all of her hurt, anger, bitterness, and sorrow?
Let’s Make it Practical – How Do You Find Rest for Your Souls?
First, we have to admit that we are hurt and upset!
In the same manner, Hannah had to do this as well.
In 1 Samuel 1:10, we read,
“Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.“
Hannah had to cry out and tell God about how she was doing!
She admitted that she was upset – owned up to her feelings.
Further, she didn’t pretend things were fine. Honestly, she couldn’t hold it in any longer.
One of the first steps in any recovery program or weight-loss program – admit you have a problem.
Often, we don’t like to do this in the church.
It just doesn’t isn’t very spiritual to admit we are struggling.
I wonder today, will you admit and own up to the fact that you have an issue in your life that God wants to deal with?
Are you hurting?
Will you admit that you are?
Can I share a little secret with you today?
When I finally get honest about how I’m doing, things improve.
NO MORE SECRETS!
Often, my pastor (Adrian Rogers) would say:
“What we uncover, God covers. But what we cover, God will uncover.”
Second, to find rest for our souls, we have to pour out our hearts to God.
Hannah poured out her heart to God.
It’s an amazing prayer that we read in 1 Samuel 1:10-16,
Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.
And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you.
He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.”
As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her.
Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking.
“Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”
“Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger.
But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord.
Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”
Honest words of prayer can lead you to find rest.
Look at some of the words used here – this wasn’t some little wimpy, Sunday school prayer.
- Bitterness of soul
- Much Weeping
- Eli thought she was drunk
- Deeply troubled
- Pouring out of the soul
- Praying with great anguish and grief
Have you ever prayed in this way?
After we admit we are upset, the next step is to take all of the garbage and hurt and pain to the Lord Jesus.
We take our pain to Him and lay it all down!
In Psalm 62:8, we are instructed to:
“Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
The Phone Call at the Ballfields
Years ago, when I was on staff at a local church, I got a phone call on a Saturday morning.
I was actually out at some ballfields that the church owned.
From the moment that I clicked on the call, I knew something was wrong with my friend.
She was sobbing so hard I could not understand what she was saying.
So, I moved away from the group that I was talking with and went and sat on the back bumper of my old Ford Explorer.
I asked, “What’s going on?”
It Was Hard to Understand Her
Honestly, I did not understand very many of her words.
It was all crying sounds and lots of sighs, and in between, I would hear words like “husband and marriage.”
It sounded something like this… describe the crying!
Finally, as my friend began to calm down, she was able to say clear words, “I’m having a really hard time in my marriage.”
In the quiet of that moment, I gave her the advice I give to everyone who asks.
I encouraged her to get on her face alone and cry out to God.
Truly, I told her to pour out her heart to God and tell God what was breaking her world apart.
Then, I prayed for her, and we got off the phone.
She told me later that she did just that (and felt so much better!)
It’s My Best Advice to You Today – To Find Rest for Your Soul
And that is my advice to you as well today.
I can pray for you, offer you hope, and share scripture with you, but I cannot fix your broken world.
Only the God Almighty can do that.
That’s what Hannah discovered, and that’s what you and I must also discover.
One last part of the story
After Hannah admitted when was struggling and poured out her heart to God, she got up and went on living.
In 1 Samuel 1:17-18, we read:
“In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”
“Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed.
Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
Hannah Went on with Her Life!
- Hannah got up and left the temple.
- She got some food – very practical!
- Her face was no longer sad.
- She had laid her burden down.
The Rest of the Story
In addition, the Bible goes on to tell us that she was able to have a child.
However, I think she would have been okay whether God gave her the baby or not.
Why – because she had learned what to do with the griefs, and the meanness, and the hurts, and the cluelessness of life.
Hannah had learned to admit her hurt, and then to take it to the only ONE truly able to heal and restore her heart –God!
She went on with her life.
And so can you!
No matter what is going on in your life, there is hope!
Your life is not over.
If you woke up this morning, God still has a plan for your life.
So, let me make this very “Southern Practical.”
At the beginning of the story, I told you about my bank almost disaster!
To get things right, I had to admit there was a problem.
I had to FESS UP!
Then, I had to ask for help – POUR OUT my heart to the customer service people.
I had to GET IT OUT!
Finally, I had to get up and keep going!
I had to GIT UP & WASH MY FACE!!
The same is true for all of us
You and I must fess up when we are struggling!
Also, we must tell God and maybe a few trusted friends! Pour out our hearts in prayer and conversation!
Then, we must get up and keep going!
Back to the Bank Story
I finally got a notice about two weeks later that all was well.
My huge checking mistake did not turn into a disaster.
And, just to make it sweet, I didn’t even get charged the $30 fee for the stop payment.
They must have decided to show me grace in the middle of such a crazy season in our lives!
And I finally told my husband what I had done! He could not have been more encouraging.
Also, I got the check back in the mail about a week ago. I’m going to save it and keep it as a reminder to never let myself get that tired and overwhelmed again!
I don’t know where you are or what you are dealing with today.
But I have this great encouragement for you…
Today, Jesus invites you to come to Him.
Matthew 11:28 in The Message puts it this way:
“Are you tired?
Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”
This is my prayer for all of us today – to Find Rest.
May we come to Jesus, as we are, and allow Him to give us real rest!
May we admit we are struggling?
Also, may we pour out our hearts to Him and allow Him to take care of all that is broken.
And may we get up and go on with life.
As we close today, I’d like to share a new devotional available on our website.
It’s called Just Rest, and it’s a 90-Day journey to peace, hope, and a renewed faith in God.
As you read, you will be encouraged to give your struggles, fears, and anxieties to God and learn to enjoy His peace and hope for your life.
You can find out more about our devotion on the WLC website.
You can link HERE.
Also, if you were encouraged today, hear from you.
There are several ways you can reach us:
- You can leave us a Comment here on our website or our blog.
- You can also send us an e-mail. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Or you can send us a note on social media, on Facebook, or Instagram.
- We always like to hear from you.
And if this is blessed you, share it with your friends.
Let someone else know where they can find the same hope you’ve been given today. encouragement!
Also, I want to encourage you to check out another blog post that I shared recently.
It’s called, “How to discover greater courage as you walk through dark seasons of life.”
You can get to this post HERE.
Closing Thoughts on how to find rest:
Thank you for joining us today!
We are so blessed and honored that you would take the time to listen.
Remember, we are ordinary women, but we are pursuing an extraordinary God.
And He deeply cares about what troubles you.
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