One of the things I look forward to on the other side of eternity is meeting the men and women of the bible. Individuals memorialized by God despite dysfunctional homes and relationships. Unanswered prayers. Unfulfilled dreams. Individuals rescued from lives of despair and hopelessness by God’s love.
Hannah is one of these individuals.
For more years than she cared to remember. Hannah endured the taunts and ridicule of her husband’s other wife, Peninnah. Who had borne their husband Elkanahi children. It happened year after year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, Peninnah would provoke Hannah.
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord. Weeping bitterly. She made a vow saying, ‘Lord Almighty. If you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me and not forget Your servant but give her a son. Then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’ 1 Samuel 1:10-11
Hannah’s prayer touched the heart of God. Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel.
Hannah remained at home with Samuel until weaning him. Not even traveling to Shiloh for the yearly worship and sacrifice.
Samuel was the apple of Hannah’s eye. Each day with him was a gift from God. But the day came to fulfill the promise she had made to the Lord.
As the family traveled to Shiloh, what was Hannah thinking?
Was she regretting the promise she had made to the Lord? A child who was the answer to years of prayer, tears and heartache would no longer be hers.
Did tears well up in her eyes as she thought of life without her beloved son?
What would she miss most?
Gazing upon his angelic face as he nursed?
Feeling his soft lips on her face as he kissed her before going out to play?
Samuel’s tiny hands grabbing hers to show his latest discovery or invention?
His laughter as he chased his siblings?
“I love you mommy!” as she tucked him into bed each night?
Yes, Hannah’s heart ached at the thought of life without her dear boy. But her prayer at the temple that day was one of gratefulness, not regret. A prayer that arises from a soul made whole by the Lord’s sovereign wisdom.
My heart finds joy in the Lord. My head is lifted to the Lord. My mouth mocks my enemies. I rejoice because You saved me. There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one but you O Lord. There is no Rock like our God.
Do not boast or let arrogance come out of your mouth because the Lord is a God of knowledge, and He weighs our actions.
The Lord kills, and He gives life. He makes people go down to the grave, and He raises them up again. The Lord causes poverty and grants wealth. He humbles people. He also promotes them. He raises the poor from the dust. He lifts the needy from the trash heap. In order to make them sit with nobles and even to make them inherit a glorious throne.
The pillars of the earth are the Lord’s. He has set the world on them. He safeguards the steps of His faithful ones, but wicked people are silenced in darkness. Because humans cannot succeed by their own strength.
Those who oppose the Lord are broken into pieces. He thunders at them from the heavens. The Lord judges the ends of the earth. He gives strength to his King and lifts the head of his Messiah. 1 Samuel 2:1-3 and 6-10
Hannah had no regrets that day when she left her precious son at the temple in Shiloh. She knew Samuel would be generously cared for. He would honor her sacrifice by lovingly serving the Lord all the days of his life.
Hannah’ faith in the Lord and His wisdom both encouraged and reassured her. She was confident that a bright future awaited both Samuel and her.
The Lord did not disappoint Hannah. He graciously blessed Hannah with three more sons and two daughters. Her firstborn, Samuel was given the honor of anointing David. The man who was God’s chosen king of Israel and Jesus’s forefather.
May you experience Christ’s love — the reason for the season.