I've often read Hannah's story and wondered if in her position, how many times I would have wanted to take a swing at Peninnah. Peninnah was Elkanah's second wife who flaunted her ability to bear many children while Hannah the other wife of Elkanah suffered quietly and had no children of her own. Now ladies, when you read the scriptures it states that Elkanah loved his wife Hannah very much and when it came down to provision such as food, it states he gave Hannah double portion. Hannah was aware of the love she had from her husband but the pain of having a “closed” womb (barren) was unbearable for her. Hannah is one of the women in the bible that stands out for me the most because of her honest cry to God in prayer. “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son” (1 Sam 1:11) To make matters worst, in the midst of her heartfelt silent prayer to God at the temple where she moved her lips but her voice was not heard, she is mistaken for a drunk by the Priest Eli! Hannah explains to Eli, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord”. (1 Sam 1:15) In misery and asking God to remember her, Hannah “poured” out her soul to the Lord. As time passed, God remembers Hannah and opens her womb where she gives birth to a son. Samuel was born to Hannah. And as we continue to read the story, we know that Hannah gave Samuel back to the Lord and God blessed Hannah with more children. God was with her son Samuel as he grew up to be a mighty prophet of God and an intercessor for Israel. A special purpose for this man of God through a special woman who rejoiced in bringing him into the world. How many of us have poured out our pain to God? The suffering can feel suffocating. Life appears to throw painful darts that we have done nothing to deserve. In the natural, we may look at our lives and believe that our sufferings have left us defeated or up the creek without a paddle. So where is God in all this? Where was God in the drama that unfolded in Hannah’s life? Why get her to that point of absolute despair when he could have allowed her to have children earlier? Why? God was working behind the scenes in Hannah’s life just as he is working in your life right now as you are reading this. Let’s imagine a theatrical play or musical production. We are greatly entertained and mesmerized by the actors, the orchestra or the costumes. None of that would come together if you did not have the stage director working behind the scenes with a script and providing cues to the actors in order for the scene to flow. What we see coming together or assume is not coming together in our lives is always maneuvered and orchestrated by a higher power in the behind the scenes areas of our lives. God was working behind the scenes of Hannah's grand debut taking place on life’s great stage. We can see how this was the same for many others in the bible such as Moses, David, Esther or Paul. We are the lead character of this great stage called life. Will you take your cues and live out the scene that God is directing? Or will you try to take control and start making suggestions? I will be the first to confess that I can see myself telling the director...”I’ve been thinking, wouldn’t it be better if my character doesn't become ill in this scene? And then, I’m rescued by a debonair captain of the royal army and we sign up at the bridal registry at Tiffanys, we get married and” …...screeeeech (breaking sound). We have to relinquish the need for control and that means no suggested re-writes for the director. God has created a flawless script written just for you with your own unique imprint. No one else but you can play the lead to your own play! It is after all, the Lord’s screenplay not your directorial debut.
I don’t have answers for your personal heart struggle, your pain that can seem unbearable whether it is caused by losing a loved one, divorce, job loss, bankruptcy or other situations. Trust in the Lord to unfold your life and allow his answers to play out in your scene. The answer may not come in your timing or the way you expected. But expect this, God will never leave you or forget you. Our suffering is not in vain. Our God knows what we are going through and he takes notice of every teardrop that has touched your pillow at night or fallen on your bible page. There is a birthing of God’s purpose in you that is the result of that suffering. Look at them as your personal ‘samuels’. There is a blooming season that will take place at the right time. The seeds are healthy and the soil is fertile for growth. When Hannah weaned Samuel and he was ready to be taken to the temple to live with the Priest Eli, her prayer was one of rejoicing and praise (mind you this was before she ever knew she would have other children) “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Sam2:2) Hannah understood that only God could fill the void in her soul where she could take refuge. I encourage you to read 1 Samuel chapter 1 and 2. Be inspired by Hannah and don’t hesitate to pour out your sorrows before the Lord with an open heart and hands. Your open hands symbolize your readiness to receive what God is getting ready to birth out in your life. Look out for those Godly cues, take your position on stage and get ready to take your bow!