God's Quiet Work
It's easy to forget that God often does His best work when, so far as we can tell, He doesn't seem to be doing anything at all. In Hannah's case, there was no physical evidence of God's activity. Yet God was doing a mighty work in her heart. The first sign of this came when, exhausted from Peninnah's ridicule and broken by her childlessness, Hannah dropped to her knees and poured out her heart to God in prayer.
Amazingly, her endless suffering, which threatened to destroy her faith in God, actually served the opposite purpose of driving her to Him in remarkably relentless faith (see 1 Sam. 1:10-14).
Hannah implored the Lord to look upon her misery and remember her. Fervently she prayed for a son. Although she felt that God may have abandoned her, her prayer indicates she had not abandoned God.
"'O Lord Almighty, if you will…not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life,'" she vowed (1 Sam. 1:11).
Finally God ended Hannah's barrenness. After returning to Ramah, "Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her" (1 Sam. 1:19).
At long last, the God who had closed Hannah's womb blessed her with the conception of new life. Hannah gave birth to the child for whom she had longed and prayed.
A Mother's Vow
Hannah didn't forget the vow she made to God. While Samuel was still a toddler, she took him to Shiloh, where she led him in sacrifice and worship. Her plan was to leave him there, so he could grow up under the care and tutelage of Eli the priest.
Considering the circumstances, her words are baffling. "'My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my [strength] is lifted high,'" she prayed (1 Sam. 2:1). With her little child nestled close against her side and their hearts about to be torn in two, Hannah continued with lofty words that send the mind soaring with a glorious vision of God!
Hannah had feelings just like ours. Yes, she languished in her longing for a child. Yes, she felt every sting of Peninnah's barbs. And she prayed relentlessly that God would give her a son.
But somewhere along the line Hannah realized that Peninnah was laughing at God. Suddenly, as much as Hannah longed for a child, she wanted God to vindicate Himself as the God who hears and answers the prayers of those who trust in Him.
In prayer, she raised her sword in the battle for God's glory. She willingly offered up her most priceless treasure to shut the mouth of the one who dared to mock her God.
Hannah would return home to Ramah childless once again. She would always feel the enormity of her sacrifice; any mother would. Her separation from Samuel would leave a permanent hole in her heart.
Yet her prayer was joyful. What could possibly explain such joy?
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