God has placed the record of Hannah’s faith in the Old Testament Book of First Samuel. During the biblical time in which she and her husband lived, much of a woman’s worth was predicated on her ability to bear children. If she was barren, she would most likely face public ridicule, as well as the disappointment of her husband. Hannah had been childless for a long time, and she grew very distraught about this. Peninnah, her husband’s other wife, had children and made Hannah’s life miserable by taunting her about being barren. 1Samuel 1:7(NLT) tells us, “Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.”
Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, did not seek to divorce her because she couldn’t have children. 1Samuel 1:8(NLT) says that when he’d see her crying, he’d say, “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” However heartfelt Elkanah’s sentiments were, they didn’t silence Hannah’s anguished cries about the inability to conceive.
Barrenness in the Bible wasn’t viewed the way it is in modern society. The advancement of science and medicine has made it possible to recognize infertility as very often a treatable medical condition, but this was not the case thousands of years ago. Fertility is a gift from God, and in biblical times it was believed that pregnancies occurred when the Lord “remembers” the woman and then opens her womb. When this didn’t happen, most believed that either God was withholding the blessing of pregnancy or the woman was cursed. Under these circumstances, it is easy to understand Hannah’s grief and agony.
God doesn’t withhold blessings. Psalm 84:11(NLT) says, “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” This is the promise of God on which you and I must build our faith. Our Heavenly Father isn’t angry with us, and He doesn’t want to see us unhappy. God is good all the time and He wants us to place our trust in His goodness and rely upon it continually.
After the sacrificial meal, 1Samuel 1:9 tells us that Hannah got up one morning and went to pray. In deep anguish over her condition, she cried out to God and 1Samuel 1:11(NLT) says she made this vow, “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” This vow was Hannah’s promise to God to not only commit herself to Him, but to make sure her son would be committed to Him as well. In other words, Hannah promised to return God’s gift back to Him. This was a tremendous act of faith on her part. Hannah understood that whenever we give God our best, God will multiply it back to us, and this is the continuous cycle of giving and blessings that He has established towards His people.
Just as Elkanah might not have understood the depth of Hannah’s desire for a child, some husbands today may not understand the pain and frustration that many wives are experiencing. These are not necessarily related to infertility but could be other emotional issues that sometimes weigh us down. The reality is that our husbands don’t always understand us, but we can be confident that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, understands us and everything we go through. Hebrew 4:15(NLT) teaches, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Jesus Christ knows our pain, and he offers us a solution. We are to surrender our pain and all that we are to him.
Another human being should never be our everything. Therefore, we should not look to our spouses to fill up our empty spaces. Only the Lord Jesus can do this for us. Placing this expectation on another person is unfair, because it is beyond their capability. We were created to worship and have fellowship with our Creator. In marriage, both spouses are to join together with an understanding of their purpose to be unified in Christ, always putting God first, and always seeking Him first.
Hannah went to the Source of all blessings for the desire of her heart, and this must be our practice as well. After conceiving and having a son, she declared in 1Samuel 2:1(NLT), “My heart rejoices in the Lord!” Hannah knew from whence her deliverance came. It did not come from her husband; it came from trusting and believing God! This is the way all our problems and issues are resolved, by taking it to the Lord in prayer and believing in His promises with all that we are. He hears our cries, He knows our hearts, and He will bless and deliver us when we place our trust firmly in Him. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“My Heart Rejoices in the Lord”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!