Have you ever desired something so deeply, that your heart genuinely just aches for it? Maybe it’s the heart longing to spend time with a loved one who’s passed away. Or a desire for deeper connection and intimacy with a loved one. Or a desire to bring about change for a cause that’s heavy on your heart. For Hannah, that all-consuming desire was to be a mother. More than anything else in this life, Hannah wanted to dedicate her life to raising children of her own. For any of us women out there who’ve struggled with fertility, this story hits close to home.
In Hannah’s time, it was customary for men to find a second wife to bear their children if their first wife was unable to do so. Can you imagine? No pressure there- if I’m not able to get pregnant, my husband will just go be with another woman! So, sweet Hannah, being pure and noble in heart, understood why her husband Elkanah chose to bring in a second wife to live with them. On the bright side, at least he didn’t kick Hannah out… right? But this second wife was anything but kind to Hannah. She regularly teased Hannah for her infertility. As if the infertility and sharing of her husband wasn’t enough of a burden to bear, add regular insults to the list of storm clouds raining on Hannah. That poor girl cried every single day, and can you blame her? But here’s what set Hannah apart- she cried to the Lord. She knew that God alone could equip her with the grace she needed to bear her burdens. And though Hannah’s womb was closed, her heart and spirit were always open to the Lord. What a beautiful example of trusting and praising God, regardless of your circumstances!
But that’s not all of the burdens Hannah had to bear. You see, people would even make fun of Hannah for her fiercest weapon- prayer! And while you’d think that this would be demotivating to Hannah in her prayer life- she didn’t let it stop her. What a prayer warrior she was! One day when she was praying, someone saw her and saw how she moved her mouth as if she was speaking, but no words were to be heard audibly, and so this person thought Hannah was drunk! Um, far from it, dude! And instead of sulking in the insult, Hannah sat down with this person and explained the desire of her heart and what she had been praying for. And both she and the man left encouraged.
And the longer Hannah remained without child, the bolder and stronger her prayers became, until one day she decided to have a different conversation with God. She prayed and told God that if He would give her a son, then she would give that son back to Him. And eventually, God did answer Hannah’s prayers. And she named her son Samuel, which means “asked of the Lord”. What a fitting name for a son so boldly prayed for by his dear mother! And Hannah kept her word with God. Once Samuel was weaned, she took him to the house of the Lord to live and from there on it, would visit him once a year. Can you imagine how hard that must have been? But how great was Hannah’s reward, because Samuel grew up to be just like his mother- a true and devout prayer warrior.
Hannah’s story reminds us of the power of both prayer and patience and how God’s plan is beautiful. We just have to trust His timing!
Story by Shelby Bowers