We all go through things in our daily lives that are either going to shape us or break us. We have the choice to either let those situations shape us into better, stronger people or we can choose to give up, being left broken. I believe God allows us to go through things to teach us how to be faithful and obedient.
I have been studying about Hannah recently. It amazes me how obedient and faithful she was. Hannah had a choice to either let the situation shape her into a better, stronger woman of God or choose to give up on her faith in God. Hannah chose to keep going and to keep praying. She chose to believe that in God’s time she would be blessed with a child.
I’m not a mother yet, but I can’t imagine the pain she must have felt knowing she couldn’t conceive or carry any children. She had to watch her husband, Elkanah and his other wife, Peninnah have children. Not only did she have to watch Elkanah and Peninnah have children, she had to deal with the taunting that come from Peninnah. I don’t think I could have stood by and watched as they were blessed with children and yet, I couldn’t conceive any. I also don’t think I could have stood by as a woman maliciously mocked me for not having any children with my husband.
We can learn from Hannah on how to be obedient through life’s storms. We can also learn to be faithful even when there seems to be no hope of things looking up. It is through Hannah’s story that we learn the importance of having an obedient heart and having a kind, humble spirit.
1 Samuel 1:5-7 says, “But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb.” “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.” “And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.“
These three scriptures teach us that God shut up Hannah’s womb for a reason. We can say that because God would never allow for anyone to go through hardships for no reason at all. We also learn that Peninnah taunted Hannah, making Hannah have low self-confidence. We see in these three scriptures that Hannah was put through a lot, but she remained faithful to God.
Hannah was mocked and criticized for not being able to conceive any children. She felt the pain from those comments everyday that Peninnah mocked her. Haven’t we all been there too? We’ve had people mock us and criticize us for who we are or what we are going through. It hurts us and sometimes it hurts us so much that we give up on God all together. We get to the point where we believe that enough is enough and that God couldn’t possibly want us to go through this pain any longer. We learn the complete opposite from Hannah’s story. We learn that it is up to God when enough is enough and that sometimes God allows us to go through hardships to help us grow our obedience and faith in Him.
My bible commentary says, “Part of God’s plan for Hannah involved postponing her years of childbearing. While Peninnah and Elkanah looked at Hannah’s outward circumstances, God was moving ahead with His plan.”
1 Samuel 1:8-10 says, “Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?” “So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord.” “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.“
Hannah’s husband couldn’t even properly comfort her or understand her sorrow. Not only did that make Hannah frustrated and hurt, but it also made her bitter for a time. We can all relate to those feelings. We’ve all had our husbands be at a loss on how to comfort us and we have all had our feelings misunderstood. Hannah experienced the same feelings we experience today, but she didn’t hold on to them. Instead of holding on to those negative feelings and harboring them in her heart, we see that she prayed to God for comfort and strength.
Hannah teaches us that prayer is the key to all of our problems.
We may not face fertility struggles, but we each face some type of bareness in our lives today. We face bareness when things don’t come to birth in our job situations, at work, and in our relationships. It can be hard to pray when there seems to be no way that things can get better, but Hannah teaches us that it is through prayer that God is able to work the way He needs to in our lives.
1 Samuel 1:19-20 says, “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.” “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.“
It was because of Hannah’s obedience and faithfulness that God answered her prayers. God remembered Hannah’s cries and in His time, He blessed her with a son. We learn from these scriptures that it is important to stay obedient before the Lord and to continue to have faith no matter what the circumstances may be. When we obey God’s ways and have faith in His power, there is nothing that the Lord can’t do for us. When we have obedience and faith in our hearts, we learn that there is always a reason for our struggles and through those struggles we can praise God.
1 Samuel 2:1-2 says, “And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.” “There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.“
We find in 1 Samuel chapter 2 that Hannah remembered to take time out of her day to give thanks to God for the blessings he bestowed upon her. These scriptures teach us to remember where our blessings come from. When good things come of bad situations or when we just have good things happen to us, we should always give thanks to God for them. We learn from Hannah’s prayer in this chapter that she had confidence in God’s faithfulness. We must have that same confidence in Him today when we go to prayer for our hearts desires and our life’s sorrows.
We learn of Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1-2 and through her story we are taught to be obedient no matter what the circumstances are, to be faithful, and to have confidence in God’s faithfulness. The lessons we can learn from Hannah’s life are that God hears and answers our prayers, our children are gifts from God, and that God cares for the oppressed and afflicted. It is through our obedience and faithfulness that we will see God’s blessings in our lives, just like Hannah saw within hers.