Imagine, for a moment, that your husband has two wives. You, whom he loves very much but who is unable to conceive, and another woman whom bore him several children.
Now your husband’s other wife taunts you because you have no children, and she does. Year after year, when your husband takes you, his other wife and the children from Ramah to Shiloh to worship and offer sacrifices to God, the other wife makes you so upset that instead of eating, all you do is cry.
That was Hannah’s life. Year after year, her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, would torment Hannah because Hannah had bore their husband no children.
Peninnah knew that their husband, Elkanah, loved Hannah very much. Probably feeling insecure about Elkanah’s feelings for her, she tortured Hannah to make herself feel better.
Finally desperate enough, one year, Hannah decided to try something different. She got up and went into the house of the Lord to pray.
“Lord Almighty, look at me, your servant! See my trouble and remember me! Don’t forget me! If you give me a son, I promise that I will dedicate him to you for his whole life and that he will never have his hair cut,” Hannah vowed (I Samuel 1:11).
Hannah, cried with every fiber of her being, weeping bitterly before the Lord. She cried so desperately that Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk.
The Lord answered Hannah’s prayer, and she gave birth to a son, which they named Samuel.
“After she had weaned him, she took him to Shiloh, taking along a three-year-old bull, a bushel of flour and a leather bag full of wine. She took Samuel, as young as he was, to the house of the Lord at Shiloh” (I Samuel 1:24).
She took the boy to the house of the Lord to be raised by the priest Eli. There he would be taught the ways of the Lord, how to be dedicated and consecrated to God.
Because of Hannah’s sacrifice, God blessed her with three more sons and two daughters (I Samuel 2:21).
Have you ever prayed a prayer like Hannah’s? A prayer where you were so desperate that you cried out to the Lord with every fiber of your being?
Hannah’s story is not about a woman who couldn’t have children. It is about a woman, who became desperate enough to cast her cares over on the Lord. In her own strength, Hannah knew that she couldn’t change her circumstances, but she knew that God could.
He had given Sarah a child, Rebecca–twins and Rachel–two sons. God was no respecter of persons. What He did for her ancestors, He had to do for her.
When she finally stopped wrestling with the “hows,” “whens” and “whys” of the situation, she put the matter squarely into God’s hands, trusting that He would make her situation turn out right.
Just like Hannah, we are the one person who is stopping our prayers from being answered. We are the ones that are preventing our situations from turning around. We have to stop trying to figure out how God is going to turn things around or even when He is going to.
We have to give up control of the situation to God completely and totally. We have to trust that God has our best interests at heart and that even when things don’t turn out the way we hoped, God still has a better plan in mind for us. We just have to be willing to trust Him.