May 12, 2021
Thank you for your support and consistency in prayer each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. Praying is not easy, especially during trials, but through it all God is producing beauty in you. Yousuf Karsh said:
Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
According to Google, the longest palindrome (a word spelled the same backward as forwards), is “saippuakivikauppias.” The palindrome for today is a Bible character named Hannah. She was a woman of exceptional character.
The story of Hannah is found in first Samuel chapters one and two; she lived in a very difficult situation. Polygamy was never God’s intention (Gen. 2). Hannah bore the consequences of her husband Elkanah’s detrimental choice. She also bore the brunt of his second wife’s cruelty.
Very often we, too, find ourselves in troublesome circumstances due to the thoughtlessness of others.
While some things are out of our control, it is good to know that our God is the sovereign king of the universe. He not only allowed for this to happen to Hannah, but He was also responsible for her barrenness. “The LORD had closed her womb” (1 Sam. 1:5).
Sometimes God permits things that we do not understand and possibly never will, but His heart is always tender towards us. All that He allows is never to harm us but to draw us closer to Himself.
Her condition did not make Hannah bitter, angry, or resentful toward God, although she called herself, “a woman troubled in spirit” (1 Sam. 1:15). Hannah was a real woman with feelings, emotions, and great sorrow which she had to work through.
Sadly, those around her were not much help. Peninnah taunted her. Elkanah spoke unwisely to her. And Eli the priest judged her wrongly.
She was all alone. Yet in her aloneness, she turned to God. Her womb was closed, but her heart was open toward her God.
Her words to Eli tell the depth of sorrow that she felt, “I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:15). This is the one thing that every child of God can do. We can always turn to God in our desperation. He will hear! Always!
With Hannah, there was nothing audible or grandiose or flashy. Just a woman in the house of God, before her Lord, speaking in her heart and pouring it all out to Him. How beautiful! She was a woman of prayer.
Hannah prayed for a son to give back to God. This prayer was one of great foresight and sacrifice. It was not prayed rashly or without understanding. She prayed for a son which would remove her reproach in Israel, but she ultimately prayed for the blessing of God’s people.
She was a woman who truly cared about the condition, the needs, the waywardness, and the direction the nation was going. Herbert Lockyer once said, “Hannah is a beautiful example of how the most unpleasant and untoward circumstances can produce a character blessing the world.”
Hannah came onto the pages of history immediately after the dark days of the judges. She lived in a time when things were not good in the house of God with Eli and his wicked sons. Her prayer interrupted the downward spiral of the nation and redirected the focus back to God.
When Eli told her to go in peace, she “went her way, and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (1 Sam. 1:18). She was a woman of faith. She got a word from the Lord and rested on it.
This is what faith is. God gives His Word to us and He wants us to obey it. He wants it to change us as it did Hannah.
Wherever you may be today, still in the darkness of uncertainty and hopelessness, or with a clear word from God, stay in His presence and keep your eyes upon Him. He hears your pleas. He sees your tears. He knows your troubles!
He loves you with every fiber of His eternal being, and He will answer you in His time and His way.
Not all stories end with the same outcome as Hannah’s. This is where trust in an all-knowing and all-loving God is essential. In her case, she got her little Samuel, which she gave back to God as promised, and God blessed her with other children as well. This is a reminder that God is able to do far more than what we ask or think (Eph. 3:20).
The closing lines of Hannah’s narrative are a beautiful prayer of worship that she offered to God. It is one of the great prayers of the Bible and gives us a glimpse into the appreciation she had for her God (1 Sam. 2:1-10). Hannah was a spiritual woman whose chief goal was the honor of her Lord.
May we all learn from her!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel