Hannah is one of my favourite Biblical characters. She is a woman who walks through real struggle and emotional suffering, but who manges to hold onto the Lord in her pain.
After years of trying it had become painfully evident that Hannah couldn’t have children. Yet she was surrounded by the sons and daughters of her husband’s second wife, a woman who actively scorned Hannah’s childless condition. And “this went on year after year.” (v6)
Hannah very understandably longed for a child. So she went to the tabernacle, to the place where God was to be found in Old Testament Israel, and she got on her knees, and poured out her soul to the Lord.
“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.” (1 Samuel 1:10)
“I am a woman who is deeply troubled…I was pouring out my soul to the Lord…I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” (1 Samuel 1:15-16)
That in itself is a wonderful picture of suffering faith looks like. Hannah brings her anguished troubled soul to the Lord, pours out her misery and asks the Lord to provide for her.
How many times do I choose to bury my sadness, or allow my anguish to to be directed in unhelpful directions, rather than bring my soul and my requests to the Lord? Today, I need to bring myself to the place of God’s presence and grace, to Christ crucified for me, with my brokenness and need.
But Hannah is not only a woman of faith, she is also a woman whose greatest love is for the Lord. This is supremely evident in what she chooses to do if God answers her prayer.
“She made a vow, saying, ‘O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon 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.'” (1 Samuel 1:11)
What she promises the Lord utterly blows my mind! She promises to give God the very thing that she most longs for, and when the time comes she does so with rejoicing. (1 Samuel 2:1). She accepts the blessing from the Lord, and then offers that very blessing back up the Lord. There is more that could be explored in regard to her decision here, but the thing that I have been reflecting on most, having read Hannah’s story a couple of days ago, is her desire to take all that God gives her and dedicate those blessings to his purposes.
When I pray for God to provide, is it so that I can spend those blessings on myself? Or am is my heart willing to hold onto them lightly, and open myself to how they might be dedicated to the Lord’s purposes?