In 1 Samuel chapters 1-2, we read the story of Hannah who was married to a man name Elkanah who loved her very much even though she could not have any children for him. Elkanah also had another wife name Peninnah who did have children. Peninnah loved to make fun of Hannah because of her childlessness and probably flaunted her kids in her face to make her miserable. Instead of being envious or growing bitter, below are three things that Hannah did which pleased the Lord and caused Him to bless her greatly.
1. Hannah prayed. Hannah had a most uncomfortable home situation. Because Elkanah did not love Peninnah as much as Hannah, Peninnah was intent on making her wretchedly unhappy and her life sorrowful. Add to this the fact that Hannah did not have any children and 1 Samuel 1:10 tells us ‘she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.’ That second phrase – and prayed to the Lord – is most important. In her deepest agony, Hannah turned her pain and tears over to God.
When we are being afflicted or find ourselves the subject of someone’s jealousy or meanness, the best thing we can do is turn to the Lord Who is Himself a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. More than anyone else, Jesus understands our pain perfectly and He can bring peace and comfort to anguished hearts. We can also let God know what we want through prayer. Hannah wanted a child. You may want Godly relationships, a new job, good grades, or something else entirely. God already knows what it is you want but He wants to hear it from you.
2. Hannah was persistent. Even though she was barren, Hannah still believed that God would give her a child. And she made her belief known to Him. Not only once did Hannah prayer for a child; she prayed repeatedly. For many years God did not answer Hannah but that did not make her doubt Him. Her faith in His ability to give her a child never wavered.
We too need to be persistent in asking God for what we want, need, and desire. Whether it takes Him one day, one year, or ten years to answer us; it is our duty to remain faithful to prayer. And we must pray persistently with a believing faith that He not only hears us but will also answer us.
3. Hannah kept her promise. Hannah was a really special one-of-a-kind woman. She wanted a child more than anything in the world, yet she promised God that if He gave her a son, she would turn around and give that child right back to Him. God heard Hannah’s prayers and soon she gave birth to a Godly son called Samuel which means “God has heard.” When Samuel was old enough, Hannah remembered her promise. She did not try to keep the son she had prayed so long to have. She went to the temple and gave him to God where he grew up under the guidance of Eli to become Israel’s last judge, its first prophet, and anointer of its first two kings – Saul and David. He is also mentioned in the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews chapter 11. Because of her faithfulness, trust, and obedience God blessed Hannah to have five more children – three sons and two daughters.
Never promise to God or anyone else to do something that you cannot follow through with. Your word needs to be your bond. If you fail to keep your promises, people will not be able to trust other things that you tell them. Like Hannah, we need to be prayerful, persistent, and keep our promises.