I really hadn’t noticed it before. And I, perhaps like you, have read the passage on numerous occasions. But this time, something caught me eye.
The story of Hannah in 1 Samuel is fascinating to me. And, I am blessed to have actually stood in the ruins of the exact location where this scene took place. Years ago while on a trip to Israel.
There’s more in that chapter than you’d think, if you take it slow and read between the lines.
So, what struck me this time?
1. Hannah was in deep pain over something she didn’t have: a child
2. Ironically, the person causing her pain (Penninah) had 6 children.
3. Hannah had the love of her husband, Elkannah. (He had two wives—Hannah was one, Penninah was the other.)
4. Penninah had the children, but she didn’t have the love of her husband. Hannah did.
Each wanted something of value to them that the other person had.
She prayed for God to answer her request and end her grief
If you notice, Hannah went before the Lord in bitter grief. What is amazing to me is that her husband says to her, “Am I not enough for you?”
He didn’t understand. That wasn’t the pain point. In her day, that child that she didn’t have was her validation as a woman. No one, but a woman, in Hannah’s situation would understand. And not just a child, but a son! A male child.
It may not make sense to you when someone else is hurting, and, in truth, your hurt may not make sense to someone else, but those situations, that pain—is real. Hannah literally, according to the translation The Message, said to God “If you’ll take a good hard look at my pain, if you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me.”
She didn’t say,
- Help me handle this grief.
- Make me more Godly.
- Avenge my enemy.
Nope. She asked God to grant her request.
Eli the High Priest actually accused her of being drunk while she was praying and crying by the way. (If that wasn’t enough to add insult to injury.) Nice!
Here’s how she responded, “The only thing I have been pouring out is my heart, pouring it all out to God…it’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain..”
There are a lot of people in pain. It sometimes seems overwhelming when you hear all of the stories. And when I do, I think of Hannah.
Perhaps we need to see the next part of the story. In verse 19 we see that after she left the building ,”And God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.”
I am no prophet, I can’t change the course of time, but I can pray. I believe we should see this example of Hannah’s prayer, and take our weaknesses, our requests to God, seriously, and allow Him to work on our behalf.
By the way, when she and her husband returned home from that journey, she became pregnant. Before the year was out, she had…a SON. Not just a child…a son.
I don’t know what you might be asking for in your life, but I would say to you, let’s pray and pray hard. Hannah didn’t say, “I have been a godly woman, I have obeyed you, so answer my prayer because I have been a good girl.” No, she wanted something she didn’t have that was crucial to her personal, intense happiness…and God responded.
I’d love to hear about something you have truly begged God for, and seen Him answer. If so, share you story here with me and all to see. Everyone loves a good ending. Maybe it will be yours…or mine!
Just my thoughts,
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