You may be wondering why I chose this verse to put on our picture… the Lord put this verse on my heart a few months ago. One day as I way doing my daily Bible reading I read this verse and it has stuck with me ever since. Now yes, of course I have read this verse several times in the past, but this particular time it seemed to stand out to me even more.
As I was reading I began to see things in this story I had never seen before. In verse 7 it says year by year, so even though there is no account given for how many years this was, I know each one must have been more difficult for Hannah than the one before. Honestly… If I were her I would have been tempted to stay home rather than go knowing what I was gonna be up against. To me, for her to feel this way was totally normal. Any woman who is not a mother and wants to be so bad can fully relate to Hannah here. I have faced similar feelings and thoughts on more than one occasion. For example.. I’ve wanted more than once to stay home on Mother’s Day rather than face a day filled with things geared totally towards “Mom’s”. I go though because I believe to miss such a day would be wrong and selfish on my part. Wrong because I would be forsaking going to God’s house. Selfish because I would only be thinking of myself rather than thanking those who deserve it for the blessings they are in my life.
But anyway, In order to learn a little more of this story I have not only talked with Jonathan about it, but I decided to find out what Matthew Henry’s take was on this account.
Some thoughts from him and my husband:
Peninnah despised Hannah because she was barren. Elkanah loved Hannah even though she was barren and Peninnah knew this. If ya ask me Peninnah had issues of her own. Because of her own insecurities and jealousy she did her absolute best to make Hannah miserable. As if that was not bad enough she did it most when they went to the house of the Lord. One maybe because they were together more but maybe also because this was when Elkanah showed his affection most to her. Peninnah wanted him all to herself. Poor Hannah! Can you really blame her for being devastated? Something else I read in Matthew Henry’s commentary is that Peninnah also knew that it was wrong to provoke her at this time not only because they were in the presence of people and others would take notice, but also Hannah desired to be calm and composed, to be free from disturbance so that she could have a clean heart before the Lord as she worshiped Him there.
It even said that she would not eat because she was hurting so much. She had lost her appetite. She was uneasy with herself and unfit for company. Sometimes I feel like I can relate to Hannah here. I have had many days when I wanted nothing and just to think of food made me feel terrible. The problem here is that of course since we are humans our body does require food, and the lack of it ends up making you feel even more awful. It seems to be a snowball effect in more ways than one. I’m sure you’ve heard the term I can’t even stand myself. I’ve felt this way before and I was definitely unfit for company!
Have you ever prayed, but no words seem to come? Have you experienced sleepless nights and tear stained pillows? Have you read your Bible, but for some reason found no comfort at all in its words? Have you begged for peace and still felt hopelessly lost? It’s such a horrible feeling of being all alone. You ARE completely helpless and that is when you begin to realize you have to be totally relying on God. For me… I discovered at this point that every day I have to seek Him. It’s not pray one prayer, gain some victory, and then it’s all better. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride that sometimes leaves you hanging in the balance. A friend told me one time that learning to walk by faith really is the hardest part because some days are easy and some are overwhelmingly terrible. I have felt this way at times and still do on occasion, but I can know from His Word that He is NEVER gonna leave me. He is always there ready and willing to hear as soon as I call. I know that I must continually seek Him for peace and His strength, and give Him the praise for the days that are easier.
Anyway though, Eli accused Hannah of being drunk! He even confronted her about it. Now… The wrong side of me would have wanted to say “Of all the nerve, I have lived with this pain for years, I’ve been made fun of, my husband thinks he’s not good enough, all these things…and now, I’m being accused of being drunk?!” I suppose this is where me and Hannah are different because she simply replies, “No, my Lord.” She saw him as he was and showed due respect for a man of God. It still makes me wonder though if she might have been thinking, What now? Where am I supposed to go from here?
Verse 11 says that she made a vow to God that if He would give her a child she would give him back. Part of me has always thought WOW! What kind of woman does something like that? Especially knowing that she would only get to see her little boy once a year? The only answer I can see is… a woman with a bucket load of faith! Eli told Hannah “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. It also says that she went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. She prayed, she trusted, and believed what she had been told. She had peace in her heart. In my opinion, that is some GREAT faith!
I know there are many other stories where there were Heroes of the Faith. I know God did many other miracles for other people. It even says in John that if they were all written down that all the books of the world couldn’t contain them! This story though… Well, It hits very close to home. As I read this very tried and true story that day, the thought occurred to me that if the Lord could do this great miracle for Hannah thousands of years ago then He could do it for us as well. After all… He has not changed and never will!
So… even though we do not have children yet, for me, this is a cherished promise I can take to heart and trust just like Hannah did that some day, Lord willing, I too will be called Mommy!