Hannah’s Angst

images-30In the bible, God leaves on record the story of a woman named Hannah.  She was the mother of the great prophet Samuel.  On its surface, it’s the story of how Samuel was dedicated to the Lord from birth, but that is beside the point. The real lesson in Hannah’s story is her worry about a situation that needed healing.  She could not have children, and it was a constant source of worry, hurt, and concern.

The scriptures tell us about her emotional state:

6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.   7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.  1 Samuel 1: 6-7

The bible doesn’t identify the ‘adversary’.  However, if we spiritualize this story,  the enemy of every follower of Christ is Satan, and he will use people and what they say to us to discourage us.  Someone was mocking her about her condition or it could be just the fact that the family was going up to the temple to make offerings and it hurt her having to watch the other wife, who was having baby after baby, tend to the children.  Being childless was a source of constant depression.

Isn’t that how it is sometimes when we want God to bless us specifically.   We desperately want a particular thing to happen in our lives, but it’s just not happening.  Then, looking at other people possess what we desire. It can be a source of continual pain.   It’s not that you hate the other people, but it’s just a reminder like a sore tooth.   You don’t want people telling you what God is going to do or may do, you want God to bless you.

I’m sure Hannah went through all the questions:  “ Why not me Lord?”  “What’s wrong with me?  Why  can’t  I have this?”  “ Is it even in your will for my life? Tell me now”.

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Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, by all intents, seemed to be a decent guy and treated her well.  He says to her something that a lot of people say to others grieving and empty space. BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!   He explained how good he was to her and how much he loved her—better than 10 sons,he says.  Yet, this was not what Hannah wanted to hear.

Hannah had a vision of herself being blessed with her own son.  It was important to her that it happen just like that.

So she did the only thing she could. She prayed!

She must have looked a mess, talking to herself, maybe rocking back and forth, disheveled.   The priest that she had been drinking.  Yes, you have to look past people who misunderstand your complaint.  Sometimes when we are hurting it may look one way to people on the outside of that hurt, it may look odd to them, but you are doing what you need to do to survive your situation.

She was pouring out her heart and looked bad doing it, she went to God to pour out her heart.  He accused her of being drunk or the wrong thing.  How long are you going to be like that?

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Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.  Psalms 62.:8

The end of the story is that once the priest heard the sincerity of her request, he prayed for her and proclaimed that she would have her son.  She took that in faith and stopped fasting and crying and believed God and God graciously gave her a son.

Meditation:

  1. When people misunderstand your feelings, do you pray or lash out at them in anger.
  2. God’s will and our timing are not always the same, have you earnestly prayed about the desire of your heart? Sometimes it’s good to take special time to just pray for your spiritual need and grace to endure your situation.
  3. Once Hannah received an assurance in her heart, we went along happily in faith back home to her husband. Have you spent enough time with God to receive an answer about your request?
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