Learning from Hannah
(1 Sam 1, 2:1-10)
Honestly in God’s sight
A plea to Him for a son she made
No tears held back
Nothing did she not pour out to Him
And she made a promise
Honouring it with no hesitation
It is hard to imagine being in Hannah’s shoes - despised by Peninnah, feeling like a failure (1 Sam 1:6). She knew her husband loved her, but as we might sometimes question, “Why love me when I am of no use to you?” We often can't feel loved when we are feeling very bad about ourselves. Hannah was very unhappy. We can visualise the jeering she had to put up with, being let down over and over again. When we are in such situations, what do we do?
She wept in anguish and prayed to the Lord. She knew, and we have to remember, that God understands. God loves us too, and if He wills, He will give. And then she made a vow to the Lord. (1 Sam 1:11) If He saw how she was afflicted and granted her plea, giving her a male child, she would give him back to God all the days of his life. It was such a heavy promise. The precious child she had wanted for years, and having to let go of him. It must be so painful.
But when God gave her a son, she knew that it was indeed God that gave him to her (1 Sam 1:20). She did not give any excuses, she did not run away. She knew she had made a vow and would honour it. When we tell God we will do something, do we forget it? When the bad times leave and the good times come, do we still do it? Do we even remember and thank God for the blessings? It was Him who gave them to us.
Hannah glorified the Lord, exalting Him so greatly (1 Sam 2:1-10). Do we too praise God in our prayers, finding all the words we can think of just to praise Him? Imagine the true joy that Hannah felt. God remembered her and she thanked Him with all her heart. And she fulfilled her promise, giving her child to the Lord, without any grumbling. (1 Sam 1:24, 28)
We can learn a lot from Hannah, from her faith, to honouring the vow she made to the Lord. God loves us too, He sees all of us, knows our every weakness and suffering. When we pray to Him and give Him our burdens, we should also let go (1 Sam 1:18). Trust that He will provide. It is not easy but He knows when we try. When He gives peace and joy, we should not forget Him either. He is the giver of all good things. Exalt Him, thank Him, and if we said we would do something, take action.