Cries from the Heart

Albert Hull

Rachel, Hannah and the widow, all cried, each having this common link, it was in crisis." May the following meditation be of value and encouragement to the saints. There is one common need among us as the Lord’s beloved people, and probably the greatest need in our generation; it is prayer. We all admit that this is our greatest failure, prayer, supplication and communion. We have chosen women to address our hearts on the subject. It would be a pleasure to review Abraham, Elijah, Daniel, Paul etc., men who agonized in prayer, but we will confine ourselves to this interesting and instructive study, "the cries of women."

It is obvious that the feelings, emotions and sensitivity in a woman s heart are more expressive than a man’s, and this we observe in Rachel, Hannah and in the parable of the unnamed widow woman. Before considering and applying this lesson we must underline in all hearts that no individual believer can survive in our world without prayer and no assembly can be without praying women (single, wives and widows). These are often the backbone of assembly life. It has been well said that the spiritual altitude of the assembly can often be gauged by praying women. Again, we believe prayer is the defensive bulwark of the family, when this is replaced or relegated, the results are often tragic.

A CRY OUT OF ENVY

Genesis 30:1; Rachel’s cry, "give me children or else I die" is addressed to her husband Jacob, but God heard it! This cry sprang out of deep frustration and envy from his best-loved wife, Rachel. Note in chapter 29:31: "and when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, God opened up her womb." What a lesson to us all that we need to judge our motives before the Lord. Often those that are hated, and sore-pressed, God blesses. Leah’s reward was fruitfulness instead of barrenness, resulting in four sons! Each were given significant names, Reuben (behold a son), Simeon (hearing), Levi (joining) and Judah (praise). At the birth of Judah, Leah rose above the envy and rejection and got to the source of all blessing, when she said, "I will praise the Lord." What a wonderful statement! Leah had two more sons and one daughter. This is the background to Rachel’s cry, and while we must not be too hard on dear Rachel, her motive was selfish. We must observe though, that Jacob’s attitude and answer was wrong; he was angry with Rachel. A wrong spirit prevailed. Jacob failed to learn from his father Isaac, who entreated God on behalf of his barren wife, Rebekah. God heard and answered (Gen. 25:21).

Human feelings ran deep on this occasion between Rachel and Jacob. However, we observe the kindness of God, (verse 32); "and God remembered Rachel and hearkened unto her and opened her womb." How often God deals kindly with us even in our failures. Our God is slow to wrath and plenteous in mercy. Thus Rachel became fruitful, bore a lovely son, Joseph, and later another son, Benjamin. But there is a sad note in all this, and it is worthy of our attention. Rachel had only ‘a Joseph’ to enjoy for seventeen years and then never saw him again. While God’s people for millenniums have been touched and blessed by the life of Joseph from his youth until he was embalmed in a coffin, his mother was deprived of the joy of seeing Joseph exalted in regal splendor to the throne of Egypt. This would be the joy of any mother to witness her son rise to the highest position in a great Empire, but she never saw it. Then Benjamin came along, Rachel’s second son, a son whom she never kissed or embraced as she died at his birth (Genesis 35:18). She called him Benoni, son of my sorrow, but Jacob called him Benjamin, son of my right hand. On their way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem, Rachel was buried.

A pillar was erected for a memorial, but we seldom visit that grave do we? The solemn principle of sowing and reaping evident in Jacob, is also seen in Rachel. The Lord in kindness can answer prayer, can give blessing, but His government in our lives continues, we still reap what we sow. We likewise can allow the weed of jealousy or envy to show its ugly head when God is blessing another. The wise king says, "who can stand before envy?" Let us rather cry to God out of a pure heart and let us rejoice when others are blessed. On the other hand, Leah who is least mentioned, was placed in the tomb of Macpelah (a way in and a way out, death and resurrection) beside Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah and also Jacob. This tomb we often visit, the tomb of death and resurrection! The story of Rachel has a sad refrain. It is a story of tears, trial and tragedy. Let us learn that motives are important and while we cannot read them, the Lord reads them, and all will be manifested in that day.

Let my prayer come before Thee as incense and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2).

A CRY OUT OF EXERCISE

In 1 Samuel 1 & 2, Hannah’s cry, "give me a man child," is a cry from a broken and barren wife and will be to her eternal credit. Her cry comes like a sparkling jewel on the dark canvas of Israel’s history, a barren nation, a blind priest, and a barren woman. She is under attack from her adversary, and here we are introduced to the beautiful, graceful character, Hannah (grace). Hannah is before Jehovah with a deep-felt burden, and she cries to God OUT OF EXERCISE. Godly Hannah reaches beyond her natural and selfish desires and ascends to spiritual heights in asking for "a man child not for herself, but to give him to the Lord ALL the days of his life. What a story! What lessons! We feel the sentiments of the hymn, "Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."

Before Jehovah she made her vow, and she kept it! Selfish interests were eliminated! The glory of God, and the recovery of the nation had priority. Hannah had spiritual insight as to the need of the times. Issachar-like, she had understanding of the times. She not only knew the sad conditions, but felt them! The salient point, "her prayer was out of a deep exercise." This is our major observation. Can we capture this telling picture? Can we apply it to our times? The need today is evident, and we must confess the lack of deep burden for present day conditions. "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4), fits Hannah perfectly. In Hannah we have her sorrow, her silent prayer, her sobs, her supplication and her song. Is there not the fear that we could relax in our grip upon our greatest weapon that we possess, prayer? The sad results lead to substituting knowledge without practice, form without power, energy without exercise, facts without fervency, prayers without passion, and words without weeping. Let us learn the lesson that if we had more brokenness we would have less bitterness and more blessedness. Hannah lived to see the day when out of a broken spirit she produced and reared a child who left imprints upon the sand of time. Little did Hannah know that millenniums later we would benefit spiritually from a Samuel. It is obvious that Samuel took character from his godly mother and he carried the burden of the nation in prayer constantly and patiently. Indeed while Samuel was a prophet he also acted in the capacity of a priest. Do we, out of exercise cry to the Lord to raise up Samuel-like saints, who will carry the Lord’s people upon their heart, and raise the standard high, recovering the saints back to the simplicity in Christ? Are we small-minded to think only of our own little circle, or is the ultimate goal to have all the saints etched upon our hearts before Him. Eli the blind priest lost discernment, and also lost responsibility in the family. He left no impact upon the nation, never wept for the recovery of God’s people and was out of touch with reality. His discernment was so blurred that he accused godly Hannah of being drunk. What a tragedy! When he made mention of the Ark, he died tragically, and when his daughter-in-law travailed in pain she delivered a child, called his name Ichabod (the glory is departed from Israel) and died. In contrast to this we have Hannah, who wept, wrestled, waited and worshipped. What an example for our present day. Our God is a God of recovery. "Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31: 30).

A CRY OUT OF EXTREMITY

In Luke 18:1-8, the Widow’s cry to the Unjust Judge was, "avenge me of my adversary." Dr. Luke gives this gospel that peculiar touch that is obvious to the reader. The writer uses words very pertinently and tenderly, e.g. compassion, disease, poverty, widows, prayer, sorrow, forgiveness, parables etc., in a unique way. This prayer-parable is of great encouragement to us, provoking us to persistence in prayer. The parable takes up two extremes. An unjust judge who feared not God nor regarded man, in stark contrast to a widow who was friendless, helpless and in a hopeless condition, yet persistent in her request. What extremity! This widow never let up, fainted not, neither became weary. The unscrupulous judge avenged her of her adversary saying, "lest by her continual coming she weary me I will avenge her of her adversary." He took up her case and laid it to rest.

The application is clear. We come to a gracious Father who feels for us, not frowns on us, bestows, not withholds. Extremities we may experience, but our God lives and loves to answer prayer. Answers may not come in the way we anticipated but they are always for our eternal good.

This widow may also be a picture of Israel in a day to come when, in their extremity, they will cry to their God and He will answer them speedily. He will avenge His elect. Whether in a crisis in individual, family or assembly life we have a great privilege to cry to our Father who never becomes weary with our cries, and never turns us away. There may be some dear child of God who may read this article and extremity has overtaken you - the unsaved children, a prodigal son, a wayward daughter, a dark and deep valley, unanticipated trials, and disappointments. These have devastated you, or maybe ridicule, reproach, hurt, and wounds have vexed you. We can cast each burden upon the Lord, for "He careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). You may have many cares, He has only one and that is you. The Father awaits our voice, He sees ours tears, He hears our groans and He interprets all our petitions (1 Peter 3:12). Remember dear saints, God is still on the Throne. We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and His ears are opened unto their cries" (1 Peter 3:12).

One would not leave this subject without a passing reference to the seven occasions mentioned in Luke where our blessed Lord prayed under varied conditions and circumstances. What an example to observe the perfect, yet dependent man. We can ponder His strong crying and tears in His extremity in the garden, and even on the Cross the forsaken cry that we will never fathom throughout the ages of the ages. Our conclusion is summed up in the words of Luke 11:1 "Lord, teach us to pray."

We cannot see the tomorrows, they are hidden from our view,
But the all-wise God in whom we trust knows best what is for you,
He guides us through each moment and strengthens us each day
And teaches us through life to learn to trust and always pray.

Each teardrop He has counted, each one precious in His sight,
Each groan, each sigh He understands, He sees them in His light.
He answers all in His own time, in ways we cannot see,
But in that coming day we’ll know, His way was best for me.

We’ll see why sorrows came our way that we didn’t understand,
We’ll know the dark days were allowed in the pattern He had planned,
Up there our path will seem so clear and we will read the reason "why?"
He led us through the valleys, to prove His love could never die.

Dear child of God your cries and tears are all in God’s great plan,
Be not ashamed of tears that flow, when you cannot understand,
Leave all with Him who wept and prayed in dark Gethsemane,
For on the Throne He loves His own through all eternity.

Cries from the Heart

Albert Hull

Rachel, Hannah and the widow, all cried, each having this common link, it was in crisis." May the following meditation be of value and encouragement to the saints. There is one common need among us as the Lord’s beloved people, and probably the greatest need in our generation; it is prayer. We all admit that this is our greatest failure, prayer, supplication and communion. We have chosen women to address our hearts on the subject. It would be a pleasure to review Abraham, Elijah, Daniel, Paul etc., men who agonized in prayer, but we will confine ourselves to this interesting and instructive study, "the cries of women."

It is obvious that the feelings, emotions and sensitivity in a woman s heart are more expressive than a man’s, and this we observe in Rachel, Hannah and in the parable of the unnamed widow woman. Before considering and applying this lesson we must underline in all hearts that no individual believer can survive in our world without prayer and no assembly can be without praying women (single, wives and widows). These are often the backbone of assembly life. It has been well said that the spiritual altitude of the assembly can often be gauged by praying women. Again, we believe prayer is the defensive bulwark of the family, when this is replaced or relegated, the results are often tragic.

A CRY OUT OF ENVY

Genesis 30:1; Rachel’s cry, "give me children or else I die" is addressed to her husband Jacob, but God heard it! This cry sprang out of deep frustration and envy from his best-loved wife, Rachel. Note in chapter 29:31: "and when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, God opened up her womb." What a lesson to us all that we need to judge our motives before the Lord. Often those that are hated, and sore-pressed, God blesses. Leah’s reward was fruitfulness instead of barrenness, resulting in four sons! Each were given significant names, Reuben (behold a son), Simeon (hearing), Levi (joining) and Judah (praise). At the birth of Judah, Leah rose above the envy and rejection and got to the source of all blessing, when she said, "I will praise the Lord." What a wonderful statement! Leah had two more sons and one daughter. This is the background to Rachel’s cry, and while we must not be too hard on dear Rachel, her motive was selfish. We must observe though, that Jacob’s attitude and answer was wrong; he was angry with Rachel. A wrong spirit prevailed. Jacob failed to learn from his father Isaac, who entreated God on behalf of his barren wife, Rebekah. God heard and answered (Gen. 25:21).

Human feelings ran deep on this occasion between Rachel and Jacob. However, we observe the kindness of God, (verse 32); "and God remembered Rachel and hearkened unto her and opened her womb." How often God deals kindly with us even in our failures. Our God is slow to wrath and plenteous in mercy. Thus Rachel became fruitful, bore a lovely son, Joseph, and later another son, Benjamin. But there is a sad note in all this, and it is worthy of our attention. Rachel had only ‘a Joseph’ to enjoy for seventeen years and then never saw him again. While God’s people for millenniums have been touched and blessed by the life of Joseph from his youth until he was embalmed in a coffin, his mother was deprived of the joy of seeing Joseph exalted in regal splendor to the throne of Egypt. This would be the joy of any mother to witness her son rise to the highest position in a great Empire, but she never saw it. Then Benjamin came along, Rachel’s second son, a son whom she never kissed or embraced as she died at his birth (Genesis 35:18). She called him Benoni, son of my sorrow, but Jacob called him Benjamin, son of my right hand. On their way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem, Rachel was buried.

A pillar was erected for a memorial, but we seldom visit that grave do we? The solemn principle of sowing and reaping evident in Jacob, is also seen in Rachel. The Lord in kindness can answer prayer, can give blessing, but His government in our lives continues, we still reap what we sow. We likewise can allow the weed of jealousy or envy to show its ugly head when God is blessing another. The wise king says, "who can stand before envy?" Let us rather cry to God out of a pure heart and let us rejoice when others are blessed. On the other hand, Leah who is least mentioned, was placed in the tomb of Macpelah (a way in and a way out, death and resurrection) beside Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah and also Jacob. This tomb we often visit, the tomb of death and resurrection! The story of Rachel has a sad refrain. It is a story of tears, trial and tragedy. Let us learn that motives are important and while we cannot read them, the Lord reads them, and all will be manifested in that day.

Let my prayer come before Thee as incense and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2).

A CRY OUT OF EXERCISE

In 1 Samuel 1 & 2, Hannah’s cry, "give me a man child," is a cry from a broken and barren wife and will be to her eternal credit. Her cry comes like a sparkling jewel on the dark canvas of Israel’s history, a barren nation, a blind priest, and a barren woman. She is under attack from her adversary, and here we are introduced to the beautiful, graceful character, Hannah (grace). Hannah is before Jehovah with a deep-felt burden, and she cries to God OUT OF EXERCISE. Godly Hannah reaches beyond her natural and selfish desires and ascends to spiritual heights in asking for "a man child not for herself, but to give him to the Lord ALL the days of his life. What a story! What lessons! We feel the sentiments of the hymn, "Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."

Before Jehovah she made her vow, and she kept it! Selfish interests were eliminated! The glory of God, and the recovery of the nation had priority. Hannah had spiritual insight as to the need of the times. Issachar-like, she had understanding of the times. She not only knew the sad conditions, but felt them! The salient point, "her prayer was out of a deep exercise." This is our major observation. Can we capture this telling picture? Can we apply it to our times? The need today is evident, and we must confess the lack of deep burden for present day conditions. "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4), fits Hannah perfectly. In Hannah we have her sorrow, her silent prayer, her sobs, her supplication and her song. Is there not the fear that we could relax in our grip upon our greatest weapon that we possess, prayer? The sad results lead to substituting knowledge without practice, form without power, energy without exercise, facts without fervency, prayers without passion, and words without weeping. Let us learn the lesson that if we had more brokenness we would have less bitterness and more blessedness. Hannah lived to see the day when out of a broken spirit she produced and reared a child who left imprints upon the sand of time. Little did Hannah know that millenniums later we would benefit spiritually from a Samuel. It is obvious that Samuel took character from his godly mother and he carried the burden of the nation in prayer constantly and patiently. Indeed while Samuel was a prophet he also acted in the capacity of a priest. Do we, out of exercise cry to the Lord to raise up Samuel-like saints, who will carry the Lord’s people upon their heart, and raise the standard high, recovering the saints back to the simplicity in Christ? Are we small-minded to think only of our own little circle, or is the ultimate goal to have all the saints etched upon our hearts before Him. Eli the blind priest lost discernment, and also lost responsibility in the family. He left no impact upon the nation, never wept for the recovery of God’s people and was out of touch with reality. His discernment was so blurred that he accused godly Hannah of being drunk. What a tragedy! When he made mention of the Ark, he died tragically, and when his daughter-in-law travailed in pain she delivered a child, called his name Ichabod (the glory is departed from Israel) and died. In contrast to this we have Hannah, who wept, wrestled, waited and worshipped. What an example for our present day. Our God is a God of recovery. "Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31: 30).

A CRY OUT OF EXTREMITY

In Luke 18:1-8, the Widow’s cry to the Unjust Judge was, "avenge me of my adversary." Dr. Luke gives this gospel that peculiar touch that is obvious to the reader. The writer uses words very pertinently and tenderly, e.g. compassion, disease, poverty, widows, prayer, sorrow, forgiveness, parables etc., in a unique way. This prayer-parable is of great encouragement to us, provoking us to persistence in prayer. The parable takes up two extremes. An unjust judge who feared not God nor regarded man, in stark contrast to a widow who was friendless, helpless and in a hopeless condition, yet persistent in her request. What extremity! This widow never let up, fainted not, neither became weary. The unscrupulous judge avenged her of her adversary saying, "lest by her continual coming she weary me I will avenge her of her adversary." He took up her case and laid it to rest.

The application is clear. We come to a gracious Father who feels for us, not frowns on us, bestows, not withholds. Extremities we may experience, but our God lives and loves to answer prayer. Answers may not come in the way we anticipated but they are always for our eternal good.

This widow may also be a picture of Israel in a day to come when, in their extremity, they will cry to their God and He will answer them speedily. He will avenge His elect. Whether in a crisis in individual, family or assembly life we have a great privilege to cry to our Father who never becomes weary with our cries, and never turns us away. There may be some dear child of God who may read this article and extremity has overtaken you - the unsaved children, a prodigal son, a wayward daughter, a dark and deep valley, unanticipated trials, and disappointments. These have devastated you, or maybe ridicule, reproach, hurt, and wounds have vexed you. We can cast each burden upon the Lord, for "He careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). You may have many cares, He has only one and that is you. The Father awaits our voice, He sees ours tears, He hears our groans and He interprets all our petitions (1 Peter 3:12). Remember dear saints, God is still on the Throne. We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and His ears are opened unto their cries" (1 Peter 3:12).

One would not leave this subject without a passing reference to the seven occasions mentioned in Luke where our blessed Lord prayed under varied conditions and circumstances. What an example to observe the perfect, yet dependent man. We can ponder His strong crying and tears in His extremity in the garden, and even on the Cross the forsaken cry that we will never fathom throughout the ages of the ages. Our conclusion is summed up in the words of Luke 11:1 "Lord, teach us to pray."

We cannot see the tomorrows, they are hidden from our view,
But the all-wise God in whom we trust knows best what is for you,
He guides us through each moment and strengthens us each day
And teaches us through life to learn to trust and always pray.

Each teardrop He has counted, each one precious in His sight,
Each groan, each sigh He understands, He sees them in His light.
He answers all in His own time, in ways we cannot see,
But in that coming day we’ll know, His way was best for me.

We’ll see why sorrows came our way that we didn’t understand,
We’ll know the dark days were allowed in the pattern He had planned,
Up there our path will seem so clear and we will read the reason "why?"
He led us through the valleys, to prove His love could never die.

Dear child of God your cries and tears are all in God’s great plan,
Be not ashamed of tears that flow, when you cannot understand,
Leave all with Him who wept and prayed in dark Gethsemane,
For on the Throne He loves His own through all eternity.