#8 Women of God: Hannah
Updated: Jul 31, 2021
“Tears fall for a reason and they are your strength not weakness” said the horse to the boy. (Charlie Mackesy).
Of all the pain felt by women, I think the agony of being unable to bear a child would have to be one of the most excruciating. It certainly was for Hannah, the wife of Elkanah. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, was busily producing a brood of children, but it just wasn’t happening for Hannah, and Peninnah spitefully let her know it.
What surprises me is that Hannah wasn’t unkind back. Sure, she was miserable and couldn’t eat but she didn’t retaliate. I think the key is hidden in the words: “The LORD had closed her womb” (I Sam. 1:5). Hannah acknowledged that God was sovereign over her unfulfilled longings so it was pointless to react. In faith she turned to God in tears and prayer at the tabernacle.
God wants us to cast all our cares onto Him. God may never tell us why He meets our desires or not so all we can do is thank Him for trusting us with this experience. Our focus, in other words, is to always be on praising God, not focussing on the trial.
And that’s just what Hannah did! She poured her heart out to God and then let it go. We read, “So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (v18).
Although the story did end well for Hannah and she did indeed have a son, Samuel, who was a great prophet in Israel, Hannah gave him back to God for service in the tabernacle.
Can you believe that after years of childlessness and all that emotional trauma, when she finally had her prayer answered, she returned him to God? From then on, she would only see Samuel once a year when the family went up to the tabernacle to worship (vv 27-28).
May our eyes be ever fixed on our sovereign God, that come what may, we will exalt Him and acknowledge Him as the source of all our strength. In Hannah’s words: “I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the LORD, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God… For by strength shall no man prevail” (1 Sam. 2:1-2, 9).