Faith Filled Stories – Hannah
Our lives are like a vapour in the wind. They’re here one minute and gone the next. Moses shared in Psalm 90:4, “For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by, like a few hours of the night.” In a way, that makes it feel totally insignificant. Yet, the Creator of the Universe, the One that created time itself has a deeply profound and intricate plan for Y-O-U.
Hannah was desperate. She was anguished from the constant provoking and taunting from her husband’s other wife. “Pininnah had children, but Hannah was childless.” (1 Samuel 1:2b)
She was greatly loved by her husband. By the way the chapter is written, you can tell that Hannah and Elkanah had a good marriage in spite of his other wife. They deeply loved and respected each other. But Hannah couldn’t take it anymore. She felt alone and like her life was passing by without the desire she hoped for most. She was tired of living in the shame of her barrenness and being ridiculed for it.
Elkanah’s family faithfully attended the tabernacle at Shiloh every year to make sacrifices and spend time in worship. This year was no different. Pininnah’s taunting was so overwhelming that Hannah couldn’t bring herself to eat or drink anything at the festival. She dismissed herself when the meal was over and headed to the tabernacle. “Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the LORD and wept with many tears.” (1 Samuel 1:10). She was broken. Her heart, soul, and body ached for a child of her own.
In pleading with the LORD for His mercy, she made a vow to Him. “LORD of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.” (1 Samuel 1:11)
Hannah gave her anguish and pain to the LORD. She fell before Him as a humble servant of His and pleaded her case. She showed humility. She showed her devotion to the Lord. She gave her brokenness to Him.
Eli the priest was observing her. He thought she was drunk and scolded her. But she was actually just praying in silence with her lips continuously moving. She stopped and explained to him what was going on. When he realized, his heart felt compassion and told her to “go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the petition you’ve requested from Him.” Hannah replied, “may your servant find favor with you. Then she went on her way; she ate and no longer looked despondent.” (1 Samuel 1:17-18).
Hannah left her burden with the Lord. She fasted and prayed. She bore her aching soul to her Lord. Then she walked away trusting that the God of Israel heard her cries. She didn’t know what it would look like going forward. She didn’t know if or when she would have a son. She just knew that she could trust her God.
She woke early the next morning, and her husband and her went to worship the Lord. Her mourning turned to praise. She released her weight and chose to worship with King. After that special time together, the returned to their home.
“Then Elkanah was intimate with his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son.” It’s not that the Lord forgot about her. It’s that His timing was committed to her in that moment and was willing to benefit her request.
Hannah saw her promise through. Once the child was weaned, around the age of three, she took Samuel, her son, to the tabernacle to live. She had him dedicated to the work of the Lord. “I now give the boy to the LORD. For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:28). She then went on to give a song of praise to the Lord in chapter two.
Hannah finally got the biggest desire of her heart. She had three years with her son. Then she gave him away. She still visited him. She made him a new robe every year and checked in on him when the family went to visit. But she stayed true to her promise.
That must have been so painful in one sense. This child, this special son that she longed for, for so long was finally hers. She gave birth to him and nurtured him. Then she kept her promise and gave the little toddler to the priest to take care of. She could have said no. She could have gone back on her word, but she was faithful. Because of this, the Lord blessed her husband and her with more children.
Samuel ended up becoming one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament. He heard the voice of the Lord at a young age. He anointed Saul and David as kings of Israel. He mentored them both.
All children are the Lord’s. Whether they are biologically yours or you receive them from another avenue, all children are miracles from Him. We are not to make them our idols. We are not to hold onto them too closely. We are their guardians. We are called to raise them and train them in “the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6).
Pray for your future children. They will need all the prayer they can get to enter this tough world. Dedicate them to the Lord if you are called to. Ask Him what it is He requires from you. These little lives are profound in the grand picture. Though our lives are fleeting, they matter. Equip them with His truth and may they become leaders for Him.