Content is not the first word most people would use to describe Hannah, despondent and forlorn are probably more like it. Most of us can identify with Hannah’s sad days in one form or another. Have you ever woken up to feeling a little lonely? Do you ever feel like there are no words to describe all the thoughts and emotions raging around inside you? So did Hannah…
Living in a culture where a woman was expected to bear her husband at least one son, being barren was shameful. Hannah was blessed to have a husband who loved her, but was unfortunate in the fact that her husband had another wife, Peninnah, who tormented her daily. How easy it would have been for Hannah to “lose her cool” and take her pain out on someone else, but she chose not to. One thing to love about Hannah is how she handled the difficult days that could have burdened her for life. In her barrenness she didn’t grumble to her friends, take it out on her husband, and accept a bitter attitude; she prayed. Hannah humbled herself and cried out to the God who sees, the God who hears, and the God who knows. This act of prayer tells us something quite special about Hannah. She didn’t just know what the scriptures say about the Lord, she believed it. Hannah acted on the truths she knew about God. In this case, it was His lovingkindness and mercy.
In asking God for a son, Hannah’s motives were not entirely self-serving. In essence, Hannah said, “Here God, nothing in life is more precious to me than a son. If you give him to me, I will give him right back to You.” The Bible doesn’t tell us that Hannah grieved over the promise and struggled with her desire to keep her son for herself It tells us that once the child was weaned, she gave him over to do the Lord’s work, in the care of Eli. Hannah honored God and served Him by loving her son through the robes she diligently made for him, year after year. God blessed Hannah by giving her more children. No one really knows what went through Hannah’s heart and mind as the Lord took her through those years. All we really know is that the grieved woman we were first introduced to became a woman of mighty character whose strength came from the Lord and none other. During the months of pregnancy and preparation, Hannah learned something: It is better to thank the Lord for what He has provided than to mourn for something more.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” Philippians 4:11
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