The account of God’s faithfulness to Hannah is one of my favourite ‘go to’ stories in the Bible when I need encouragement.
Hannah was just an ordinary woman, probably not that different to you or I. Her big heartache in life, at the point where we pick up the story, was that she had been unable to have a baby. She had a husband who obviously doted on her, but she longed for a child. You can read the account in 1 Samuel 1:1–18
Here are some things that stand out to me in this beautiful God-story.
‘The Lord had closed her womb’ 1Samuel 1:5
God allowed Hannah to go through that time of ‘barrenness’ to show her His goodness.
There are times in life, where we feel ‘barren’. Other people’s lives, careers, families and ministries may seem so fertile in comparison to ours. But God knows the plans he has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us – plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and His timing is impeccable.
God had great plans for Hannah, as we will see.
She knew how to seek God 1 Samuel 1:9
They went as a family to Shiloh every year. I wonder how long Hannah went through the annual routine of going to the temple. Perhaps she had to go, as a wife, as a way of honouring her husband.
But it was Hannah’s choice, that day, to get up from the table and go alone into the temple, seek God’s presence and present her heartbreak and deepest longings to Him.
Hannah decided to focus on God and His provision instead of dwelling on her circumstances that had gone on ‘year after year’.
Most of us can think of times when we’ve felt low, and maybe haven’t even felt like going to church. But when we’ve made the decision to stop ‘wallowing’, and get into God’s presence, even if it feels as though we’re dragging ourselves there, it seems those are the times we find our greatest breakthroughs. When we seek God we will always find Him.
She Believed God
1Samuel 1:18 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.”
After Eli had prophesied over her, Hannah dried her tears and left there with a new lightness in her step and hope in her heart
‘Why’, we might ask. Her circumstances were outwardly still the same. She wasn’t pregnant. So what was the difference?
The difference was in Hannah; There had been a shift on the inside. Hannah believed what God had promised and that was enough to put a smile in her face and bring back her appetite!
If God has promised you something, whatever it is, you can be sure that He will fulfil His promise to you.
It was enough for Hannah to know that God was “on the case”. She absolutely believed Him.
So often, we as people waver and become discouraged when God doesn’t do what we want Him to do when we want we want it done. That He’s promised it is enough. He is a covenant keeping God, who never breaks His promises!
God Rewarded Her Faithfulness
It’s easy to read over this story and forget the human element. How hard, as a mother, must it have been to hand over her young son in honour of her promise to God, to let him serve in the temple. But for Hannah, a promise was a promise. God had kept His promise to her and, as she herself put it, taken away her shame.
And the story doesn’t end with Hannah having just that promised child, Samuel – God went on to bless her with five more children. Our God is the God of abundance!
Oh I love this story!!
So today, if you are waiting for the fulfilment of a promise, or if you feel a ‘barrenness’ in any part of your life, remember Hannah. Get into God’s presence, present yourself to Him, wait for His answer, and then believe Him, however long that takes. Our God always keeps His promises.
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