Sometimes life does not happen the way we want it to. Occasionally there will be things we desperately want in our lives, but God has not made it happen. Now and then God grants us our desires, often times He may have something better in store for us, but sometimes God just wants us to be patient; we are not ready for it yet. God will give us time to be patient, grow in faithfulness and obedience to Him, and then He may grant us our desires as they fit into His plan.
There are certain people in scripture that are sincerely fantastic examples of faithfulness and obedience. We can seriously relate to some people in the Bible, and sometimes we long to relate to them. Hannah is one of those people for me.
Hannah is the mother of Samuel, who was the last judge of Israel and ultimately led the nation into faithfulness to God – none of which would have happened if it were not for Hannah’s faithfulness and devotion to the Lord.
‘And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” ‘1 Samuel 1:11
Like Hannah, for a long time I plead with God for a child. I wanted a small human of my own to love and to love me. I begged God to give me a child, and when He granted my request I disobeyed God, went my own way, and ended up losing my first child. In God’s time, though, He gave me a living child through some tragic circumstances and my life forever changed. While I was disobedient to God, Hannah was not. God remained faithful through all of it nonetheless.
‘And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. ‘1 Samuel 1:18
Hannah made a pact with God. She vowed that if it is His will to give her a son, she would commit the boy to the Lord for his whole life. God’s response initially was for her to be patient and faithful, waiting for His perfect timing. Then when He gave Hannah her son, Samuel, she kept her word to God even though it meant she only had her child for the first 3 or 4 years of his life. After Samuel was weaned, she committed him to the Lord for the rest of his life, leaving him in the care of Eli.
‘And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord . For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord . As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord .” And he worshiped the Lord there. ‘1 Samuel 1:26-28
The thing about Hannah is that while God was giving her time to be patient, strengthen her faith, and continue to live in obedience she was combating ridicule and bullying from those around her. Not only is it already difficult to remain faithful when we feel God is not listening, but it can be especially difficult when we have people trying to tear us down while we are struggling.
It is too easy for us to lose faith when we are not getting what we want. Our human nature is selfish and society teaches that instant gratification is necessary and deserved. But man, what God can do through our faith in Him.
‘ But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.’Psalms 59:16
God gives us every day, every breathe, every strength, and He can bring us through every trial we face. Even though Hannah was in complete despair, she remained faithful to God. Through her gratefulness and faithfulness she not only gained a son, but she also gave him to serve the Lord.
We have no idea, not even the faintest inkling, of what God can and will do in His time and His way through our faithfulness and devotion to Him. God deserves our praise every day, all the time, even in the midst of struggles because He has the power to get us through it.
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
2 “There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,1 Samuel 2:1-10 ESV
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”