Scripture – 1 Samuel 1-2
From this scripture we are introduced to Hannah, Elkanah’s wife who couldn’t bear children and her counterpart Peniniah kept on humiliating and making her life miserable because of this, something that was clearly out of her control.
Have you ever been humiliated and looked down upon for something that wasn’t in your power? At that time, not being capable of bearing children was shameful and in some parts of the world today unfortunately that hasn’t really changed, but that may not always be the case. Cruel words may have been said to you, harsh treatments etc. How do we react when those things happen to us?
Depression is not something that is only prevalent in our world today. Hannah went into depression because of what she was going through. Even though Elkanah said that he loved her for so much more than she could offer, the voice of shame and humiliation in her head were louder than his and she wasn’t capable of receiving the love he was offering. That is what being in a state of depression does to a person.
Hannah cried out to God and took all her pain to him. (1 peter 5:7) says cast your anxiety upon the lord, because HE CARES FOR YOU! Which was exactly what Hannah did.
In verse 11, Hannah prayed to God and promised Him that if He gave her a son, she would dedicate it back to the lord. Wow! Even at her lowest and darkest moment, she was still thinking of honoring God with everything she has, even what she had not yet seen manifest. Hannah was going to give back to God what was really his in the first place. Hannah had the understanding that everything we own truly comes from God, He gives and He takes away.
The scripture said that Hannah prayed for a long time. she was relentless in her prayers and desperate for a miracle and even in that head space, all she thought of was giving back to God.
Who is the Peniniah in your life today? It may not be a physical person, it could be unfulfilled hopes and desires, putting up with people rubbing their success in our faces, comparison, discouraging words, the list goes on. It is easy to lose faith in God in times like that or say He has abandoned us and has left us to suffer, but that is not who God is. Stand firm in His word, know who God says you are so that when the voices of ‘Peniniah’ start coming in, we can counter them with affirmations and what the word of God truly says about us. The word of God is our sword and that is why we need to deliberate about spending time reading our bible.
Honestly, sometimes we could be the ones doing the damaging and putting others down with the things we say and how we treat people. (Matthew 7:12) do to others what you would like to be done to you. It so so important to always be kind, you never know what someone is going through, you may not know the pain that lies behind the smiles that you see. Do not be the person that needs to put someone down in order to make yourself feel better. Our words can have lasting impacts on people, sometimes we may not even know. So if you must speak, at least make sure something good is coming out from your mouth.
In verse 18: …then she went away and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. This has to be one of my favorite verses in this chapter. Hannah was at peace after she prayed to God. Her circumstances did not change but her outlook on life did. Her peace came before the promise came to pass. You don’t have to wait for every single thing in your life to fall in place before you trust God and have peace, He is the calm in the storm, He gives us peace in the middle of the chaos. God doesn’t promise that everything in our life will always be great, life will always have it’s ups and downs, but He promises us peace, and that, we can hang onto because God is faithful. (Isaiah 43:2)
Later on in the chapter, we see that Hannah kept her end of the bargain, when God blessed her with a son (because He is faithful and keeps all His promises) she dedicated him to God. Do we make empty promises to God?
Sometimes when God blesses us, we tend to forget our desperation and the prayers we had prayed to Him before receiving the blessings. Hannah had not yet seen a son physically but yet she already promised God she would dedicate her child to Him. So amazing!
God’s timing and our timing is very different. It’s often hard to come to terms with that when we want everything to be done our way.
If Hannah did not go through what she did, would her faith have been able to sustain the kind of surrender God required from her at that time? Do you think she would have given Samuel back to God to be used by Him for His kingdom if He had taken away her suffering when she wanted? God’s timing is so different from ours, and so much better even though in the moment it may not seem like it, but it’s true. Samuel grew up to become a great leader and prophet for the people of Isreal, as a result of Hannah’s surrender.
Hannah’s story always encourages me, it reminds me of how faithful God is, always. Whenever I feel discouraged, instead of throwing myself a pity party, I try to take it all to God as Hannah did. Sometimes, He may not take away our burdens at the time we want, but we need to remember that He always has our best interests at heart and everything He does at the end of the day is for HIS glory, not ours. Stay strong friend, God loves you, always. I hope Hannah’s story can bring some encouragement to you, hang on, He has not abandoned you, He sees you, He hears you and He loves you.