The Lord will provide
God is amazing. Jesus is amazing.
This message is one of encouragement to all of us. It is a message that says that God hears our prayers and the cries of our hearts – no matter what we have done and no matter we are going through. He hears our prayers and cares about what we are going through.
Sometimes praying is hard
We sometimes have an idea that praying to God is like an old white haired minister is his priestly garments standing in front of the church reading his prayer to his congregation. And I am sure some wonderful prayers have been uttered this way.
But often in the Bible we see that people prayed with great emotion and out a deep and desperate state of mind. People prayed who were sick for many years, or whose children were plagued by demons, or whose child had died. These people who prayed were sad, emotional, and were crying out to God with a raw kind of human energy. They had nothing left to lose and cried out to God with every fiber of their being. And God heard them; and God answered them.
One such person who suffered greatly was Hannah. She couldn’t bear any children; in other words she couldn’t get pregnant. This was humiliating to her and she so desired to have a child. She longed to have a baby. And year after year her husband Elkanah remained without a child from her.
And Hannah prayed. Oh man did she ever prayed. She was so caught up in prayer that her lips were moving but because she was so overcome with grief and emotion her lips were quivering and moving but no sound was coming out of her mouth. Let’s read her story in the Bible.
Hannah was heard by the Lord
“Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 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. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lordhad closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of theLord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah 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?”
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 1In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to theLord, weeping bitterly. 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.”
As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
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. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” – 1 Samuel 1:3-20
And so we see that after many years of depression, sadness, grief, and humiliation Hannah received her son. God heard her prayer. He always hears our prayers and always answers our prayers better than we could ever have imagined. God doesn’t just answer our prayers, He gives us above and beyond what we could ever ask for. Some say God answers our prayers but doesn’t always give us what we want – and that’s true. God always gives us more than we could ever dream of or ask for.
Receiving something from the Lord doesn’t always come easy. It’s not as easy as having a cookie and some milk or just saying to yourself “Oh I think I need something from the Lord” and then you just wait for it to happen. We sometimes need to pour out our hearts to God with great tears and suffering.
God hears our tears
“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”
And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too. – Luke 18:35-43
Here we read about a man who was at the end of his rope and he didn’t care who heard him crying out in desperation to the Lord for healing. The man was blind.
It says that the blind man was shouting out for Jesus to help him because the blind man heard that Jesus was walking by. The man shouted but he wasn’t angry. He was shouting out to Jesus “have mercy on me!”
The man was desperate. He was blind and couldn’t work. He couldn’t have an income and perhaps no one would marry him. Who knows what kind of hardships and trouble this man had because of his blindness.
So the man cried and raised his voice for Jesus to stop and heal him. And the people around the man told him to shut up! But this made the man yell even louder “Jesus have mercy on me!” And Jesus ordered that the man be brought to him and Jesus healed him.
Don’t give up on your prayers and the needs that you have. The Bible says that we are to trust in the Lord and no to lean on our own understanding. So cry out to God; humble yourself before His mighty hand and in due time He will lift you up answer your prayer.
Zaccheus went out on a limb for Jesus
There is another interesting character in the Bible who loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart and didn’t care who knew it. This man’s name was Zacchaeus and he was a very rich man; and he was also as short as he was rich. Zacchaeus was short; so short in fact that when Jesus was passing by Zacchaeus couldn’t get a good look at him. So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a tree so that at least he could get a glimpse of his beloved Savior and idol as he passed by.
So up the tree he went and waiting for Jesus to come by. And Jesus did pass by. But Jesus did something more than just pass by. Jesus stopped at the tree where Zacchaeus was and called out to him: “Zacchaeus…come down from there. I am going to your house today.”
And Zacchaeus gladly wined and dined Jesus in his own home and then something remarkable happened. Let’s read about it:
“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10
Not only did Zacchaeus get to see Jesus, he got to entertain and host Jesus and others in his own home. And the Zacchaeus out of love for Jesus and to show his love to others paid back those from whom he had stolen money. Zacchaeus was truly converted – a Jewish man became a Christian.
What can we learn from these three believers
All three of these people – Hannah, the blind man, and Zacchaeus – believed in God and believed that God was good; they sought after God in their own way. There were ready to look foolish in calling out and searching after Jesus.
There were not ashamed to let people see their desperate need for the Lord: Hannah was weeping uncontrollably; the blind man wouldn’t stop shouting; Zacchaeus went out on a limb for Jesus.
So we have learned that sometimes we can cry out to God as loud as we can for Him to have mercy on us, and if He doesn’t hear us cry louder. And sometimes we will be so overcome with emotion we will just be able to quiver our lips in prayer to our God. And sometimes our faith will be stretched and we will have to go out on a limb for Jesus.
I want to end with another person who desperately sought after God. This woman had a bleeding issue for 12 years. This woman likely wasn’t married and couldn’t because of her condition. She was likely ostracized from society because people thought she must have committed some bad sin to have the sickness that she did.
But this woman was willing to crawl in the dirt on her hands and knees just to get close to Jesus and touch the bottom of his robe. Let’s read her story and what Jesus did for her:
The woman crawling in the dirt
“Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.” – Matthew 9:20-22
Don’t give up believing in God for a miracle. He will deliver what He promised. He promised to answer your prayers above and beyond what you could ever imagine.