Hannah had a problem. She was barren and felt rejected by God.
In Old Testament times, barrenness was considered a disgrace, and Hannah wept bitterly over her affliction. To compound her problems, Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, had another wife, Peninnah. She was difficult. She despised Hannah because she was jealous of the special affection Elkanah showed her.
Each time they would go to the house of the Lord, Peninnah would ridicule Hannah because the Lord had closed her womb. Hannah wept bitterly and refused to eat or be comforted. Her anxious spirit caused her to focus inwardly at her misery. Hannah felt she had been forgotten, always carrying the painful remembering in her heart.
Remembering can be hard. It connects us to our loss. It reminds us of our grief, and it brings to our attention to unmet needs. We remember a husband’s infidelity and we feel a loss of love and security. We remember a friend’s betrayal and we feel the loss of acceptance and value.
What’s the solution, what can we learn from Hannah’s story? Here are a few insights.
Hannah’s husband reproved her in her grief and challenged her to shift her focus onto God. This helped her look through a different lens—the lens of hope.
Hannah didn’t harden her heart or reject her husband’s reproof. Instead, she shifted her focus to God by prayer and petition.
Hannah identified her source of grief, (barrenness) put words to her pain, (“O Lord of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy maidservant and remember me, and not forget) and expressed strong emotion (wept bitterly). “In bitterness of soul Hannah prayed,” v.10.
Hannah made a vow. Her vow was to commit a child, if given, to the Lord. “… (If Thou) wilt give Thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life..” v.11
Hannah trusted God. She prayed and committed her desire to the Father and surrendered her right to hold it any longer. She was willing for God to show her favor, or trust him to meet her need in another way. She trusted God knew her heart and held it’s best interests.
Hannah worshiped God. While her heart was heavy and her petition great, she chose an attitude of gratefulness.
What is the message from the story of Hannah?
Losing heart is not an option!
Hannah didn’t give up. She kept praying through her pain. She was intentional and deliberate in her request to God. Year after year she continued to pray for a child-until finally
The Lord Remembered Hannah.